Lauren Brown: Professional Ballerina to Business Strategist

Lauren Brown (@lobro423 on Instagram) is a Brooklyn-born, Duke grad with a passion for brand insights, digital strategy, and challenging the body and mind through exercise. She is a retired professional ballerina, who performed with The Pennsylvania Ballet and New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center before receiving her degree in Psychology at Duke. She was also a State and National Yoga Champion (#1 in MA-2015; #21 in USA-2015).

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In 2015, she and her team competed in the UBS & OpenIDEO Challenge and was a winner for their project called UnBroke.

So what will you get out of this episode? Inevitably you'll learn a few things about Brand Planning and Marketing. More importantly, this is a story about change. What is it's like for someone to transition from professional ballet (or the performing arts) to a 9-5? Why did Lauren make this decision and how has her life changed since then?

Show Notes:

  • [05:20] With so many titles attached to yourself, how do you introduce yourself?
  • [07:05] How old were you when you worked on the street asking marketing questions and surveys?
  • [08:05] What made you decide to stop dancing and pursuing other aspects of life? How was the transition from being a professional dancer to figuring out what's out there?
  • [10:00] How prone are you to injuries? How much recovery time did you have between shows?
  • [14:50] How does your beauty and your training helped you in the professional world?
  • [19:10] How was your transition from being a dancer with a very active lifestyle to a sedentary advertiser? What advice would you share with other people?
  • [23:15] What are some of the things a dancer need to watch out for? I.e. setbacks, liabilities, etc.
  • [25:15] How has your experience been as a strategist?
  • [27:00] What is the IDEO project about  and how it started?
    • [33:15] What was delivered to the IDEO project?
    • [37:50] What's the current status of the project?
    • [40:20] How did you get into Yoga and Yoga competition?

People and Resources :

  • Mick Ebeling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Ebeling)
  • OpenIDEO (https://openideo.com)

Favorite Quotes:

  • [05:20] ‘My identity is something I always struggle with […]. For a long time it was ballerina, when I graduated I started to figure out who I was as an adult’
  • [06:30] ‘[my first job] made me realize I was A PERSON, whether I was a ballerina, passionate about the environment or curious about marketing or psychology’
  • [08:10] ‘My whole life I always had a lot of interests. [As I grew up] I quickly got rid of many of them.’
  • [08:35] ‘There was actually a real turning point, where I felt somebody else controlled my body. [I reached a point where] I was dancing over 13 hours day.’
  • [10:30] ‘Your limit is an injury. Your limit is not the pain, it’s the fact that something literally won’t work.’
  • [17:00] ‘[With my friend] we went to see Black Swan and both of us felt that that was exactly how it was like to be a dancer: we did anything it took to excel, succeed and it didn’t matter, your mind was the only barrier.’
  • [20:00] ‘It’s mainly about confidence. I think anyone can do anything if they just put their intention there. So often we think that people are successful because there is this element that will make them successful.’
  • [21:15] ‘There are so many things where whatever the skills are that we all have from our different passions, we can apply them in a lot of different ways.
  • [21:00] ‘There’s a huge benefit in collaboration. A lot of dancers tend to think ‘if I spend more time on this I can get it to be perfect. I would encourage dancers to embrace that collaboration, […] to be conscious about where you fall short and who can fill those gaps.’
  • [28:30] ‘I think it is really important to embrace failure as much as success’
  • [29:30] ‘I realized I felt very passionate about education and basic health care.
  • [30:00] ‘Mick Ebeling’s main takeaways from FutureM’s talk: 1) First commit, then figure it out. 2) Surround yourself with people that make you feel stupid. 3) Seek out morsels of approval.’
  • [33:45] ‘We delivered three ideas that were interesting, disruptive and helped reduce the cost of education.’
  • [40:30] ‘It’s I think what helped transition me from a ballerina to a person. When I use my body I’m able to express myself in different ways. I really like the meditative aspect of ballet, and Yoga had that.’
  • [41:30] ‘To me originally it felt very similar, but then I realized how different it was, because it is less about the end-result, it’s all about the process. There’s no such thing as perfection, there’s only intention, and this notion became more and more embedded on how I approach things.’
  • [50:00] ‘I think it is so cool when you walk down the street and you realize that everyone has a story and you have no idea what that story is. I think it’s fascinating’

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