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“Breaking Cycles, Building Dreams: A Journey of Transformation & Advocacy” with Dr. C. Nicole Mason


This week’s guest on the UpLevel Podcast is the President Emerita at the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) and one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” Dr. C. Nicole Mason. Listen in to her inspiring journey from poverty to policy work, highlighting how personal narratives can shape our professional paths. She's not just breaking the cycle for herself but also creating a nurturing environment for her children, something she never had growing up. She also highlights her book, “Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America,” which serves as a memoir of her personal life experiences. Indeed, her story is filled with lessons we all can learn from.

In this Episode:

  • Explore Dr. Mason's acclaimed book, where she challenges stereotypes about impoverished communities while sharing complexities from her own experiences.

  • Discover how year-long procrastination led to an intense writing routine that resulted in “Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America.”

  • Hear about Dr. Mason’s challenging yet enlightening encounters with family members who caused past traumas during her book-writing process.

  • Family Reactions and Relationships Post-Publication

  • The tragic loss led to reconnection with relatives at funeral services and plans for future gatherings.

  • Hear about how being a single parent has been deeply healing amidst life's challenges for Dr. Mason.

Order of Topics:

  • The Journey of Dr. C Nicole Mason

  • Born Bright: A Memoir

  • The Writing Journey

  • All about Trauma

  • Family Reactions and Relationships Post-Publication

  • Reconnecting Relative

  • Single Parenting Experience

About Dr. C. Nicole:

Recently named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine, Dr. C. Nicole Mason is President Emeritus of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Having stepped into this role in November 2019, Dr. Mason was the youngest to lead one of the major inside-the-Beltway think tanks in Washington, D.C., and one of the few women of color to do so. As one of the nation’s foremost intersectional researchers and scholars, Dr. C. Nicole Mason brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. For the past two decades, Dr. Mason has spearheaded research on issues relating to economic security, pay equity, poverty, women’s issues, entitlement reforms, policy formation and political participation among women and communities of color, and racial equity. Prior to IWPR, Dr. Mason was the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the nation’s only research and policy center focused on women of color at a nationally ranked school of public administration. She is also an inaugural Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she coined the term “shecession” to describe the disproportionate impact of employment and income losses on women. Dr. Mason is the author of “Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America” (St. Martin’s Press) and has written hundreds of articles on women, poverty, and economic security. Her writing and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, Marie Claire, the Progressive, ESSENCE, Bustle, BIG THINK, Miami Herald, Democracy Now, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others.

Born Bright Purchase Links:

About UpLevel Productions: Founded by Christie Mann, MA, CPCC, PCC, and Rachel Baldi, CPCC, PCC, UpLevel creates, produces, and delivers Transformative Experiences, Workshops, Training, Events + Media that develop leaders who make our world a healthier, more alive, and connected place to be. As Associate CTI Faculty Partners, UpLevel is licensed to sell, produce and deliver Co-Active coach training and leadership development programs around the world to support the transformational growth of individuals and culture inside the workplace and organization. Instagram @uplevelproductions Facebook & LinkedIn @uplevelproductionscompany


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