Dr. Joel A Davis Brown: Challenging Norms & Exploring Queer Leadership in an Unpredictable World


Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is an author, educator, and LGBTQ activist. He is the author of the book The Souls of Queer Folk, which explores the power of queer wisdom and its potential to transform leadership practices.

Dr. Joel A Davis Brown set out to explore what it meant to be queer, but found that his research didn’t satisfy him. With encouragement from friends, he wrote a book to explore the answer to this question. In  The Souls of Queer Folk, he shares the wisdom of the queer community that has enabled queer people to survive and thrive in a hostile world. He argues that this wisdom can help us all to navigate our increasingly volatile society and elevate our leadership practice. He reminds us that queer people are strong and have been fighting for their rights for centuries, and that it is important to stay focused on those who need the most attention.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. What is queer wisdom and why is it important?
2. What are LGBTQ leadership lessons and how can they elevate and transform leadership practice?
3. What is the inclusion paradox and how does it illustrate the current situation for marginalized communities?


Chapter Summaries:
Joel Brown introduces his book called The Souls of Queer Folk.
Joel talks about Queer Wisdom and its importance.


Inclusion paradox: The idea that seemingly, if you just look at television and pop culture and media, it could feel like we have a lot more rights than we do. That in and of itself, makes it hard for people to understand that we are actually dealing with very unprecedented, dangerous times.


The wisdom that our community has provided has helped people to avoid discrimination, recrimination and death. And the queer wisdom is informed by a number of different communities. What leadership comes down to is giving yourself permission to be yourself.


Simma asks:
So what made you, Joel Brown, Black gay man who was successful, very successful, made you decide to write this book?
Joe says, “If I may say so myself. I didn’t seek to write a book. I think, you know me. I’m doing my thing.”


When we think about culture, we have to recognize that there are three different layers of culture. There are common things and themes that separate the LGBTQ community or distinguish us from others. Are there differences based on the subgroups?

I’m not trying to say that everybody’s the same, but there are values, and the values would tie us together, and that’s what helps us to build community. There’s a qualitative difference in terms of how people socialize. The work, of course, there’s more work to be done.


In every culture, every group that’s been oppressed, there’s some parts of culture that are as a result of the oppression. But there’s also some parts that are just like part of the culture. It’s hard to separate a culture from a system because this is the system as we know it.


Leadership is not just about leading the organization, leading the workforce or leading the team. It’s about leading yourself. The queer community has insight and wisdom that can help people to figure out how to reclaim their voice, to be resilient and to be adaptive.


Joel’s playlist: “I’m listening to a lot of Afrobeats. Also listening to music from Belgium, particularly Brussels. A lot of the hot Hip Hop and R&B in Europe are coming from there.”


Joel Anthony Davis Brown talks about his new book, “The Souls of Queer folk” How understanding LGBTQ culture can transform your leadership practice.


Guest Bio

Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting company based in San Francisco, California, and Nairobi, Kenya, specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership development, organizational strategy and change management, and strategic storytelling. Joel is also the co-owner of the Global Inclusion Certification Program, a training and certification company that trains practitioners to support equity work and systems change on a global scale. for As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders and professionals to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully.  In particular, Joel works with organizational clients to foster psychological safety, healing, belonging, and transformation. His work spans 5 continents.  His mission is to facilitate liberation for every global citizen. He’s also the author of “The Souls of Queer Folk: How Understanding LGBTQ+ Culture Can Transform Your Leadership Practice”.







Host Bio

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”

Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com

Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition)

Connect with me:


Previous Episodes:
From Harlem to Harvard: How Dorien Nuñez Tackled the Racial Wealth Disparity
Unraveling Racial History: Benjamin Jealous’s Quest for Freedom
Navigating Racism and Inclusion with Greg Jenkins, Nirupa Netram, and Elinor Stutz

Related Episodes:
Living While Black
What is behind the cancel-culture movement?
Race, Racism and Hope in 2021


Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating