Heather talks with Shelley Brown, Belonging Speaker, Artist and Author of Weird Girl Adventures as well as a 20+ year hospitality industry veteran. Watch and listen as Shelley and Heather discuss company culture and why belonging is so important...
Shelley Brown was working in a cocktail bar soon after graduating college when she met the people who would change her life. They worked in hospitality at the Westin Hotel in Chicago, and they thought she’d be a good addition to their team. They were right.
She interviewed for and landed the job of concierge, or as she refers to it, “professional friend.” To Shelley, this was the perfect job for her considering her mantra was, “Who can I make friends with today?” Her job was to provide resources, build relationships, and make people happy enough to return to the hotel.
But Shelley was young and didn’t want to work every weekend, so she left her concierge job and eventually became a successful tech salesperson. Though she was very good at her job—she was among the top sales reps years—that wasn’t enough for the leaders. Her success in her job was measured by data, and soon KPIs became more important than Shelley’s ability to make friends. As her job became more and more transactional, her stress increased. She was devastated that her own personal magic was no longer valued.
When she set her sights on enterprise sales for Fortune 500 companies, the leaders said she was too wild, too artsy, too out-of-the-box, and too weird. Even though she could “sell like a badass,” she didn’t fit the role of what her team looked like, sounded like, or worked like.
Then a collapsed vertebrae forced Shelley, an ultra-marathon runner and group fitness instructor, to rethink who she was and why she did what she did. Her job wasn’t letting her be herself, that fired-up, compassionate, extroverted, cheerleader who never stopped being a “professional friend.”
She became a certified mindfulness teacher who “kum-by-rocks,” teaching self-awareness practices and processes so that leaders and workers, teachers and students, can all get back to “human-ing.” Though she first believed that mindfulness is only for tea-drinking yogis, now she teaches how it’s fitness for your brain and an essential practice for how we show up.
She believes the key to success is to balance metrics with humanity and performance with a sense of belonging, because when we get to be ourselves, we can bring our best to our relationships, to work and to the world.
Shelley works with organizations to teach actionable processes that encourage people to embrace their W.E.I.R.D. and unite via individuality. An “edu-taining” speaker, Shelley is also the author of “WeirdGirl Adventures from A to Z” (AlyBlue Media, 2021).