Carolyn Swora is a self-professed “recovering over-worker and people pleaser.” I’m sure that sounds familiar! On today’s episode, learn how she not only overcame those burdens but also blossomed into a “Human Spirit Ignitor” with a passion for developing trauma-informed leaders. First, Carolyn helps us define trauma: it’s not just something extreme; it’s any emotional wound or distressing event that you’re not able to cope with easily. In other words, trauma is relative and not to be minimized or compared.

Leaders, listen up! The CDC recently quantified that the lifetime cost of toxic stress, adversity, and trauma is over $120 billion. So, it literally costs your company money if you and your leaders don’t get smarter and more intentional about this topic. In other words, LEADERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO DO THIS WORK, so be informed about how to engage with people who have experienced trauma. Ok, then how do I become a trauma-informed leader?? Carolyn offers many tips, including:

  • Being aware of and sensitive to trauma and the fact that it can deplete us in conscious and unconscious ways, including at work.
  • Do not ask. Your people can share if they choose to, but by no means is that necessary.
  • That doesn’t mean you have to play therapist!!
  • Do your own work. Be committed to learn more about yourself.
  • Create a safe space, which means you show up nonjudgmentally, so people feel seen and heard.
  • This is a vital piece of DEIB work.

Carolyn is a certified Dare to Lead facilitator of Brene Brown’s famous work on vulnerability. She’s also the host of Podcast: Evolve: A new era of leadership and author of two books, Evolve: The Path to Trauma-Informed Leadership and Rules of Engagement: Building a Workplace Culture to Thrive in an Uncertain World.

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