Episode 39 | How to Lead with Love and Forget Fear

with bestselling author Robyn O’Brien

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When people in the food industry meet Robyn O’Brien for the first time, they often remark, “Funny, you don’t look like one of them.”

“One of them,” presumably being the stereotypical food or environmental activists.

And to be honest, they’re right. (To wit, Robyn does not wear Birkenstocks or tie-dye, nor does she have dreadlocks.) 

In fact, Robyn is a self-described “conservative Texas mom” raised in a military family, and admittedly, the last person you’d expect to be leading a crusade to reform the food industry. Yet she is at the forefront of a movement to fundamentally rethink what goes into our nation’s food supply.

As a financial analyst in the food industry, Robyn began to undercover undeniable links in the chemical pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics in our food and troubling health trends like the explosion of childhood food allergies.

Through her writing and her now Famous TEDx Talk, Robyn triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry when she dared to asked: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?” Today, she is a sought-after advisor and speaker, inspiring organizations and individuals to engage in the “New Food Economy.”

Robyn was a delight to interview, and as usual, the conversation took some unexpected turns. What we found most fascinating was Robyn’s insight into her journey from financial analyst to food warrior. Fear, she says, was the one thing holding her back, but how leading with love (something she learned from her mother as a child) has given her the courage and resolve to bring these important issues to light. 

Robyn’s now famous TEDx Talk:


Key Takeaways

  • Why Robyn is optimistic for the future of the natural foods movement, and why the big food industry players are finally admitting that it isn’t a fad or a trend.
  • Why what we feed ourselves and our families directly impacts how we feel, live, and work.
  • Why “vegan” is no longer a dirty word.
  • How a conservative girl from Texas from a military family became a crusader for reforming our food supply.
  • How observing the exploding rates of food allergy in children inspired Robyn to dig deep and uncover the untold story of the food industry, and why accepting that this is her purpose has enabled Robyn to let go of the fear that has held her back from making a difference.
  • How and why everyone should listen to their heart in order to find their true purpose and be the person that we’re truly meant to be on this planet.
  • Why we should look at our lives like a novel.
  • Why our traits and emotions are like muscles, and why courage is just as easy to exercise as fear.
  • The origin behind Robyn’s now famous TEDx Talk, and why she didn’t want to do it at first.
  • Why making a difference isn’t about focusing on the naysayers, but being energized by the positive voices you see opportunity in the challenges ahead.
  • Why food is the next big “operating system” to be disrupted.
  • What you should do in the office to impact the health, wellness, and productivity of your team.
  • The foods you should avoid at all costs – and a few you should start eating today.



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