Robyn O’Brien TedX Video: Example of the Strong Mother Leader

16 Oct

When we were developing the idea for this project, we started seeking examples of the “Strong Mother” model of leadership.

While we have gathered many examples which we plan to share in coming posts, we both agreed Robyn O’Brien’s presentation at TedXTalks Austin in 2011 on YouTube seems almost a perfect representation for the model.

Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a “Real Food” evangelist. Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more interested in food as good business than good-for-you, this mother of four was shaken awake by the dangerous allergic reaction of one of her children to a “typical” breakfast. Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others. Informative and inspiring…

Robyn authored “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.” A former Wall Street food industry analyst, Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded and was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.” The New York Times has passionately described her as “Food’s Erin Brockovich.”

Find out more about O’Brien’s efforts at and

Apart from the incredible information shared in this clip, which honestly caused both of us to change the way we grocery shop, it is O’Brien’s description of how she came to embrace working with allies across the ideological and political spectrum that really caught our attention.

Her public service motivation was driven by her concern for the health of her family and other families. Her “do what you have to do to protect your kids” attitude and her realization that collaboration was the way to affect real change were also reasons we see her as a shining example of the Strong Mother Model.

Check out the video (be sure to watch the end) and let us know what you think.

Do you know leadership models like this? How do you think our country and communities could benefit from greater focus on creating leaders like O’Brien instead of the sort of career partisans we have grown accustomed to?

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