Dr. Brynn Winegard: award-winning professor, speaker, & Business Brain expert

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Dr. Brynn Winegard is an award-winning professor, speaker, and expert. Brynn completed her formal education at the Schulich School of Business (MBA, PhD) in business and McMaster University in Neuroscience and Psychology, followed by over a decade in corporate marketing working for Pfizer Inc., Nestle Inc., and Johnson & Johnson Inc. While Professor Winegard retains positions as Faculty at four major Universities, she has now dedicated herself to helping others through speaking about ‘Building Better Business Brains’ to groups, organizations and companies, stemming from her research, which combines business and brain sciences. Brynn combines real-world experience with frontier research to deliver impactful programming that will be sure to please your audiences and elevate their daily business. Clients include: Kruger, Google, Deloitte, Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, OMERS, USAA, Pfizer, Brystol Myers Squibb, Novartis, Toyota, among more than 75 notable others

What do I do best?

If I have one at all, my specialty would be in seeing patterns and opportunity for disciplines to inform each other; in merging disciplines – like business and brain-science, as an example. My first graduate studies were in brain sciences (e.g. psychology, neuroscience), and I fell in love: brain science was all I thought about, read about, cared about for a while. I was/am a real nerd.

At the time, I was also working in corporate marketing (Nestle; someone had to pay my bills!) and noticed that so much of what I was learning was applicable to my customers, the sales process, best-practice marketing – the intersection of these two disparate realms of my life at the time really fascinated me. While I was reading it in books, I really learned about ‘influence’ and ‘persuasion’, as example, by putting ‘foot to pavement’ so-to-speak in a sales role. Psychology theory informed my sales process and struggling through the sales process informed my learning of Psychology. To this day, one of my favorite dichotomies is that of ‘theory and practice’, and the intersection of those two. Of course, this makes me an unconventional academician and thinker—one who insists on the ecological validity of theory: while I am an ‘idealist’ of sorts, for theory to make sense to me it has to make sense in practice, and vise versa.

Fortunately, this cognitive permutation has made me a reasonably effective teaching professor and speaker: students and audience members often tell me I am to explain to opaque theory to them in easy-to-understand examples that ‘bring it to life’.

Back in my ‘brain science days’, no one had ever heard of ‘neuromarketing’, ‘neuroleadership’, or ‘neuromanagement’ and the disciplines they became didn’t yet have names (further, most I tried to discuss it with seemed to think I was looney!). Disciplines like Industrial and Organizational Psychology were still in their relative infancy, with few scholars participating. Fortunately, in the last 15 years or so – with more accessible neural imaging and freedom of information – these disciplines have become increasingly reified while also being established as relevant business practices, much to my delight

What makes me the best version of myself?

I guess I would say that I have a natural enthusiasm for things, which always helps get myself and others interested, aligned, and able to pull through projects with greater ease.

In my MBA days (which I did full-time while working full-time—a life choice I do not recommend!), I remember my colleague Danny often insisting on working alongside me on projects or assignments because he said I ‘was a machine’—my reputation was that I would persist through at all costs, no matter what, without stopping until the project was done. I had always naturally been like this, so for Danny to value it and give it a name was neat to me.

I guess I just like to finish what I start. I want the job to be done more than anything—and done as well as possible—whatever it is. If it was worth starting, it’s worth finishing, is usually what I think to myself when the going gets tough. Also, once I am ‘in the zone’ (something Csikszentmihalyi [pronounced ‘Chik-sent-me-high’] called ‘Flow’) I like to stay there until my task is complete. In this sense also, I am not a ‘multi-tasker’. (In actual fact, no one is, this is a fallacy about how the brain works—you might ‘code switch’ quickly, but your conscious brain is only doing one thing at a time, in actual fact.) I prioritize what I am going to do or work on and go for it, whole-heartedly, all at once, all in.

What are my aspirations?

I aspire to continue to do the work that I do now – professional keynote speaking – on bigger stages, to larger audiences, in farther-reaching places. I feel so incredibly fortunate to do what I do, for the colleagues I learn from, for the audiences I meet, for the clients I have, and I don’t take that for granted. I pray for the health and opportunity that will allow me to keep growing this business and spreading the message of business-brain science.

My Biggest Success?

I hope it is still to come in my life or career. I think I will know it when I see it. My biggest success to date really isn’t mine at all, it was probably luck: the good fortune to have been born into the family I was; in a nation of affluence, equality and opportunity; where constitutional rights are upheld and freedom is a virtue. I/We can’t take any of this for granted—currently Billions of people living on this earth do not have these circumstantial ‘advantages’. So I know any success I have now or ever was really built from chance, on a lucky foundation – I think of this often, I don’t take this for granted, and I do work hard every day in the interest of honoring these gifts in life.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Probably the realization once in it that the career I had always planned for myself (being a professor), wasn’t the last or only career I was going to have, and that I was going to have to ‘swtich’ again in life—with all the growing pains, mistakes, risks and losses that this can entail, likely.

My first career was as a corporate marketer (Nestle, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson), but once I finished my PhD (which I also mostly completed while working full-time) it made sense to become a professor. I was a professor for a couple of years before I started being asked to consult and speak quite a bit back in corporate environments. At first it was manageable with my teaching, research, and service load, but after a while it became apparent that I was going to have to make a choice.

Gone were my days of energy enough to have more than one full-time gig and experience had taught me that I didn’t ‘multi-task’ as well as I thought I did (brain science informs that nobody does!).

I realized I was going to have to set up a company and start my own formal business—like an entrepreneur. At first this felt like a demotion—cushy corporate jobs and government salaries paid better than my proprietorship did at first and I found myself working alone most days.

Further, a concerted sales effort led to many a figurative ‘slammed door’ in my face or flat-out ‘no’s’ to my service offerings. Likely a story for another time, but I will tell you that going out on my own had some dark, lonely, profit-less days.

In good news, now I love it—there was light at the end of that tunnel!

The freedom, clients, content, and venues I deliver to now are my passion, all of my choosing, and the struggle gave me a chance to hone my process and skill – complete with the battle-field stories and scars to prove it!

Now I see all of that adversity for the opportunity it was, though back then, most days, in the thick of it, I would have been loath to believe it.

Aspiring entrepreneurs or speakers out there, please take it as affirmative evidence that your persistence is key: keep at it, whatever it is, your hard work will pay off.

(Click to watch video)

My Motto?

It might be false, but it’s something my mother once said to me, and I often use when encouraging others or even myself through worthwhile but challenging things:

“If anyone can do it, you can.”

Simple and effective, I take it to mean that if it is possible at all, it is possible for you. I hear my mother’s voice saying it and often repeat it to myself whenever I need a confidence boost to undertake something or encouragement to continue something challenging.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I know, have met, or am related to some pretty impressive people, though I will say my Grandfather—the Honorable Dr. William C. Winegard, PC, OC is top of the list. His accomplishments are vast, varied, and public record, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Winegard, not the least of which is that he’s a war hero. He’s inspirational and hard to beat by every measure, by most people’s accounts – though I am also happily biased!

I will also say that I find just about everyone I meet inspirational in some way, shape, or form—maybe I am looking for it, but everyone has something they do better and/or differently than anyone else. Everyone I meet represents an opportunity to learn, reflect, and hone my craft or skill.

As my Grandfather always tells me “Honey, you can’t make all the mistakes in life yourself”, so I try to learn something from everyone I meet.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Local? Anywhere on Southern Californian coast line; South Beach Miami

Global? London; Paris; Cannes; Monaco

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Without endorsing any brand over another, here are a few recent investments (some larger than others) that really do help me run my business and make my days manageable from anywhere in the world I might be working:

1) Light-weight Laptop: A new, sleek, powerful but light-weight laptop that travels well and has a long battery life—key for over-seas flights and long wait-times in airports, as examples.

2) Calendar Task App: An integrated task-list/calendar app that shows up on all of my devices –this helps keep me accountable, punctual, on-task, on-time, and on-budget for all the many projects and deadlines I have.

3) Integrated Inbound Web Service: An automated marketing software service that integrates my social, web, and email stacks all in one place—everything is tracked centrally, automated, timed, and integrated so with one stop I can see reports on web traffic, email opens, SEO performance, client responses etc. Very important when you run a lean organization, like I do, from anywhere in the world.

4) Web Workouts: An online fitness subscription that streams new 10, 30, 40, and 60 minute workout videos every week, anywhere I am – whether at home, in a hotel room, or visiting a gym. This makes working out varied and that much more convenient.

My Current Passions?

Public speaking and performance, brain science (still!), business, travel, golf, dogs, hot sauce, bulletproof coffee, tea (both steaming or spilled!)