“Generally speaking, I think it’s at one level no different for men and women. If you’re in a comfortable place, sometimes it’s hard to be willing to become uncomfortable, but if you want to do great things, it’s going to take doing that through life.” – Jean Case

When setting out to investigate the core qualities of great entrepreneurs and changemakers, today’s Finding Brave guest discovered traits that they all had in common. You’ll hear how it isn’t wealth, privilege or even genius, but rather how they choose to make a “big bet,” take bold risks, learn from their failures, reach beyond their bubbles, and let urgency conquer fear.

Jean Case, the Chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Foundation, is a philanthropist, investor, and internet and impact investing pioneer who advocates for the importance of embracing a more fearless approach to innovate and bring about transformational breakthroughs. She is the author of the new book, Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose.

Her career in the private sector, including as a senior executive at AOL, spanned nearly two decades before co-founding the Case Foundation in 1997. Under her leadership, the Case Foundation has been recognized for its innovative efforts to address significant social challenges, harnessing the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, and collaboration to drive exponential impact.

In addition, Jean currently serves on the boards of National Geographic Partners, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), the White House Historical Association and BrainScope Company, Inc. as well as on the advisory boards of the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

What Jean shares today demonstrates that all of us can do extraordinary things. It really just takes understanding that action and commitment are key as is starting where you are and taking the small, empowering steps that will lead you towards the realization of your big idea.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What often stops people from pursuing their ideas and a big myth that Jean tackles in her book [4:04]
  • Why giving back means so much to her personally [7:06]
  • How Jean decides where to donate her time and energy, with so many worthy causes available [9:07]
  • A major development in her own career path that changed the trajectory of her life [10:54]
  • What we can do to make failure matter, and a personal example from Jean [12:32]
  • Her pillars of living a fearless life [16:52]
  • What are the true consequences of not taking risks [20:04]
  • A powerful case study of how someone she knows is conquering fear using urgency [22:07]
  • Jean’s practical tips for getting resources to fun your big idea that will help others [25:09]
  • How she’s been able to increase her own confidence [27:03]
  • Ways you can reframe, and even embrace, failure [31:10]

For More Information:






Resources Mentioned:

Jean’s New Book, Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

The Case Foundation

Her Blog Post, The Painful Acknowledgment of Coming Up Short

Kathy’s Forbes Post, Critical Gender Differences In Americans’ Top Career Regrets

37: What Is Heaven On Earth To You and Can You Have It?, with Martin Rutte

Oprah Winfrey’s Harvard Commencement Speech


“People have great ideas about how to make a better world, but often what they’re lacking is sort of a framework for how to get started.” [4:04]

“It is not the lack of fear, but the ability to stare fear in the eye and push past it.” [5:26]

“I was truly a recipient of the generosity of others, both of their time and of their resources.” [7:34]

“We all have to figure out what we are uniquely good at and what are the implications of that in terms of the things that we choose to do.” [10:07]

“In each one of those roles, I just kept pursuing the next opportunity that would let me do more to empower others.” [12:04]

“So I think as individuals, if we can embrace the new path we’re going to set out on, it’s experimenting and we’ll get some things right but we’re not going to be stopped by the few failures we might have along the way.” [15:16]

“What is the risk of not taking the risk, and how will you feel down the line if you passed on a big opportunity?” [20:26]

“The facts are that nothing great comes from [being in] the comfort zone.” [21:13]

“Start right where you are. All of us have something we can bring to get started on making a difference or finding a breakthrough.” [23:24]


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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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