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Quietly Powerful: Embracing Introversion for Lasting Impact

We should not attempt to fix introversion; instead, we should harness its profound strength. Society often views introversion as a disadvantage, urging those who are introverted to become more outgoing or extroverted. However, the quiet power of introversion holds the potential for deep, meaningful impact and long-lasting influence. Jacqueline Shaulis, an international speaker and bestselling author, has dedicated her life to guiding intersectional introverts™—those who navigate the complexities of multiple marginalised identities—to embrace their AWESOME™. This dedication stems from her deeply personal journey marked by overcoming immense adversity, including battles with suicide ideation, abuse, and an eating disorder. Despite these challenges, she rose to become a global leader, an advisor to Fortune 500 executives, and a voice for introverted women of color. Jacqueline’s story is not just one of personal triumph but also a call to action, demonstrating that introverts can indeed live deeply, influence greatly, and achieve remarkable success.

What message do you aim to convey to intersectional introverts™ through your work?

My ultimate message is that introversion is not a flaw to fix or an obstacle to overcome; rather it’s an invitation to live deeply and impact greatly. Only by embracing one’s AWESOME™—those Amazing Works of Expression Servicing Others with Maximum Enjoyment—can the gifts of one’s identities and the opportunities presented by their intersection come forth for ourselves and others with impact and influence.

Describe your professional journey from facing adversity such as suicide ideation, abuse, and an eating disorder to becoming an international speaker, bestselling author, and advisor to Fortune 100 executives.

I often say “embracing your AWESOME™ is the radical act of saving yourself to save others.” It’s a lesson I learned personally during my teens and has continued to prove true through the years for myself and my clients. Since my earliest memories, I always knew I would be speaking to crowds of people, writing award-winning books, and traveling the world. Although nothing in the humble background of me or my family ever pointed toward any of this, I decided to live into the version of myself I saw so vividly in my mind.

If I could not change my past or my environment directly, I would change myself by saying yes to opportunities that terrified me, taking action with the confidence that this is my destined path, having a trusted circle that supports and challenges me, and trusting God’s guidance all along the way. This experiment was my last ditch effort to save myself for the secret war I fought daily to stay in this world. A hopeful attempt to somehow navigate past the pain of my early childhood and the generational trauma of my family to be someone who could get a little reprieve, help others, and just maybe make my family proud. 

This process would evolve into the AWESOME™ framework, taking me from speaking to small groups at church to giving keynotes and training on six continents, from writing poems in my journal to authoring and co-authoring over twenty books, from practicing my best BBC World News accent to being featured in media outlets and hosting my own podcast, from being the kid full of insights and advice to mentoring and advising top professionals in the best known companies, organizations, and institutions.

Can you list some of the notable media outlets where you have been featured?

Forbes, The Washington Post, Today Show, Yahoo!, The Independent, Glamour, Stylist, International Business News, Romper, Doctor Oz, Bronze Magazine, The List, THOUGHTS Magazine 

What is the focus of your forthcoming book, “The Influential Introvert”?

“The Influential Introvert” explores the lives and lessons of notable introverts who leverage their introversion for success. It challenges readers to play with the juxtaposition of being both introverted and influential, introspective and impactful. We delve into the possibilities and promise of introversion as both a gift and invitation for the individual and circle of influence. This book expands the collective consciousness about introversion and what’s possible when the internal processors are released to thrive in their own way.

How does your research shed light on the unique challenges faced by intersectional introverts™, especially women of color?

Research on the lived experiences of introverts has rarely investigated the ways that race  gender influence introversion.

Through our studies of over the past several years, we’ve uncovered a number of juxtaposed experiences of introverted women of color. One prominent experience is the weaponizing of introversion against Black women, especially in the workplace. The vast majority of African-American women had similar stories of their quiet, reflective, and focused nature being used to justify microaggressions, denial of professional advancement, and other negative effects in ways that were unique to this intersection of identity. 

We’ve also found anecdotally that while introversion amongst Asian-American women is largely considered a given (and not playing into the stereotypical “quiet Asian” is penalized, albeit less severely), introverted Latinas face more scrutiny in their familial and social circles than in the workplace.

Each of these pockets of experiences are different and distinct compared to their racial/ethnic male counterparts, as well as white women. And, as we further explore these nuances of intersectional introverts, we find just how far reaching the effects of misperceptions of introversion  on the individual woman, and the ripple effects on their families, communities, and respective demographic cohorts.

What is the significance of your TEDx talk titled “Introverts at the Intersection”?

This TED talk established acknowledgement of the nuanced nature of introversion across intersectional identities (particularly for introverted women of color) and the role of introversion as its own intersectional identity (similar to race or gender). Despite decades of research on introversion, that lack of focus on the lived experience across race and gender (amongst other identities) leaves many people unrepresented and the impact of introversion as an intersectional identity largely ignored, despite the large number of people affected. The goal was to offer a much needed counter perspective to the accepted narrative of what introversion is, who gets to be included, and how it affects the lives of internal processors with converging identities. 

What roles do you hold within Awesome Enterprises LLC and the National Center for Intersectional Studies?

I am the founder and principal of AWESOME Enterprises LLC and the executive director of the National Center for Intersectional Studies. 

Aside from your professional endeavors, what are some of your personal interests or hobbies?

Traveling and reading keep me busy when not with my wonderful son or his nine cousins. I’m still trying to get to Antarctica (the only continent I haven’t visited) – so feel free to connect with me if you have a contact! Lol

How do you advocate for shifting perceptions of introversion, particularly regarding women of color, in society?

Much of the narrative around introverts focuses on fixing who they or changing how they show up in the world, which is faulty at best and dangerous at worst, particularly for introverted women of color. I’m working to change that one conversation, interview, study, and connection at a time.

Our work at National Center for Intersectional Studies is establishing the academic precedent for acknowledging their experiences, developing curriculum and coaching to support at the micro and macro level, consulting with leaders at industry-leading companies and organizations to implement, and co-creating space for researchers to 


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