Perceive Possibilities and Thrive in the Gap: Lessons from Jessica Brazier

As much as we enjoy coaching and supporting change leaders, we equally love learning from them. We’re excited to introduce you to several inspiring change leaders in our community and share some of the lessons we’ve learned from them.

A Series Spotlighting Change Leaders and the Lessons They’ve Taught Us

Jessica Brazier, Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for AdventHealth

Possibility over pessimism is one of our core values at Outside Angle. We chose this value because we believe that true change leaders have a unique ability to perceive positive possibilities. Jessica Brazier is one of the leaders we have worked with who best embodies this important element of change leadership. She sees potential in every person, every organization, and every system to get better at living their values, and achieving things that many would believe to be impossible.

As Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for AdventHealth, Jessica leads the organization’s strategic initiatives to create a diverse and inclusive workplace for 80,000 team members across over 50 hospitals and hundreds of physician offices. She is responsible for building a meaningful, motivational and sustainable approach for attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce, and strengthening the health system’s ability to deliver the best care to a diverse patient population.

The first to serve in this role, Jessica is bringing people together to build a comprehensive and sustainable strategy that combines relentless optimism with healthy pragmatism and executable plans. She seeks to drive change in what Parker Palmer calls the “tragic gap,” the uncomfortable space between current realities and what we know to be possible. By intentionally standing in the space between corrosive cynicism on one side and irrelevant idealism on the other, Jessica has learned to thrive in the intensity of change.

Both at AdventHealth and in her previous role with Deloitte’s Government & Public Services Practice, Jessica has confronted complex systems challenges, helped employees respond to painful acts of ignorance, and grappled with how much to compromise and when, but she has never lost her confidence that positive change is possible.

This belief in positive possibilities applies to other people, and to her own personal growth as well. Hence, in and out of the office, she purposefully seeks to listen and learn from those who hold different opinions and ideas than her own. She is involved with Crossing Party Lines, an organization that facilitates opportunities for dialogue between people with different political beliefs, and she enjoys facilitating an exchange of ideas and creating opportunities for people to really listen to one another, as a bridge to understanding.

For Jessica, change is not about winning or egos. Change is about remaining open to possibilities, including evolving oneself through the learning process, working alongside (not against) others, and keeping forward progress at the center. Jessica would tell you that her unfailing optimism is in part a product of her deep faith, and her personal belief that love is the most powerful force in the universe. For Jessica, love (another Outside Angle value) manifests itself in compassion for humanity, and helps her maintain a sense of optimism even through setbacks and detours.

The ability to perceive possibilities, even (and especially) in the midst of major challenges or against significant odds, is a superpower we admire in many great leaders. In itself, it is not enough to make change happen. But without it, change is almost guaranteed to fail. For us at Outside Angle, possibility over pessimism is a choice we make to anticipate challenges, but let possibility be the driver. We believe that when we bring energy and enthusiasm, and stay focused on what the outcome needs to be, there is always a way to get it done.

Thank you, Jessica, for modeling these traits! We’re privileged to have worked with you.

Learn more about AdventHealth.

Learn from the other change leaders we’ve highlighted so far in this series: