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improve it! Podcast – Developing Teams and Leaders Through Play, Improv & Experiential Learning

Jul 8, 2020

“It starts with reflection, seeking to understand, so listening, and then engaging in conversations understanding that you may not have the perfect words.”


On this failed it! episode, host Erin Diehl has a crucial conversation with a dear friend, J’ai Brown. She is the HR Director for HUB International and Executive Sponsor for the Midwest-West Diversity & Inclusion Council. Erin and J’ai talk about the importance of addressing racial injustice and how we can adequately discuss the topic with others. Listen in on how you can help make a difference.


Links from show discussions:



J’ai Brown serves as the HR Director for HUB International, leading the HR function for the Midwest-West division. In her role, J’ai is a member of the executive management team providing strategic insight and support across the Midwest-West division on all aspects of HR including employee relations, diversity & inclusion, talent acquisition, compensation, performance management, organizational design and career development. Additionally, she is the Executive Sponsor for the Midwest-West Diversity & Inclusion Council and a member of the organizing team for the HUB Women Network ERG. Prior to joining HUB, J’ai worked in roles of increasing responsibility in claims administration and human resources at Allstate Insurance Company before continuing her career in human resources at BMO Financial Group.

J’ai received an MBA and B.S. degrees in HR Management and General Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has her PHR and SHRM-CP designations. She is the Education Chair for Chicago SHRM and mentors youth with Posse Chicago and Chicago Scholars. She is a 2020 Chicago Urban League IMPACT Leadership Development Fellow, 2019 Black Queens of Chicago, 2018 Wall Street in the Black Future Leader and 2016 Chicago Scholars 35 under 35 honoree. 


J’ai resides in Bronzeville with her husband, Frank, and daughter, Kylee. You can find her on LinkedIn and Instagram where she highlights her adoption story and journey.

Erin Diehl is the founder and Chief “Yes, And” officer of improve it! and host of the failed it! Podcast. She’s a performer, facilitator and professional risk-taker who lives by the mantra, “get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Through a series of unrelated dares, Erin has created improve it!, a unique professional development company that pushes others to laugh, learn and grow. Her work with clients such as United Airlines, PepsiCo, Groupon, Deloitte, Motorola, Walgreens, and The Obama Foundation earned her the 2014 Chicago RedEye Big Idea Award and has nominated her for the 2015-2019 Chicago Innovations Award.

This graduate from Clemson University is a former experiential marketing and recruiting professional as well as a veteran improviser from the top improvisational training programs in Chicago, including The Second City, i.O. Theater, and The Annoyance Theatre.

When she is not playing pretend or facilitating, she enjoys running by the lake and patio dinners with her husband and son, and their eight pound toy poodle, BIGG Diehl.

You can follow the failed it! Podcast on Instagram and facebook, and you can follow Erin here on Instagram. We can’t wait to connect with you online!