How Women Unlock the Power of the Huddle: Interview with Brook Baldwin

Brooke Baldwin, bestselling author and former CNN anchor, shares stories and lessons she learned from amazing women who harnessed the power of the collective to become unstoppable. In this interview with Modern Mentor, she shares her candid advice and tips for finding your own huddle.

Rachel Cooke
3-minute read
Episode #645
The Quick And Dirty

Begin creating and harnessing the power of your own huddle with these steps:

  1. Do hard things with your huddle
  2. Show real vulnerability
  3. Find members who don't look like you

In football (at least in the U.S.) teammates huddle together before each play in order to plan a winning strategy. These players have a shared goal—to score!—and each player has a specific role in bringing that play to life.

American journalist Brooke Baldwin, former CNN anchor and host of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, gives a female perspective to what she describes as a "male-tinted word." In her new book, Huddle – How Women Unlock Their Collective Power, she examines the power of the huddle off the field, telling incredible stories of women (both extraordinary and “ordinary extraordinary”) who have discovered and harnessed the power of the huddle to support each other in achieving incredible things.

Of the concept of the huddle, Brooke says, "I wanted [us], as women... to flip it on its head, feminize it, and own it."

Listen to the full conversation on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or just click the audio player above.

What is a huddle?

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What role does the huddle play in empowering women?

The way I'm defining a huddle is where women are energized by the mere fact of their coexistence.

“It's a noun. It's a verb. The way I'm defining a huddle is where women are energized by the mere fact of their coexistence. A huddle can be two women. It can be 2000 women. It's where women thrive, where women succeed, where women get amazing things done. But it can also be a place where women just hold space for one another, where we're quiet, where we bear witness for one another.” 

While women can come together in work, play, prayer, and even at the gym, what really defines the huddle is its intention—“the mission of building a bigger table for women.”

What can a huddle deliver?

Through her research, Brooke interviewed incredible women who harnessed the power of other strong women. These women, collectively, huddled together to achieve amazing impacts seen by the world.

We talked about politician Stacey Abrams and soccer player Megan Rapinoe, whose willingness to link arms and share intention with other women have brought about equality in pay and voice. Both women achieved success early, yet they were moved to share the wealth, one of the driving forces behind the huddle.

We also touched on less well-known figures like Shannon Watts, whom Brooke describes as being “like any mother in America.” She was horrified by the gun violence playing out in schools across the country and decided to act. She headed to Facebook. "She had a whopping 75 followers," said Brooke. "And she voiced her rage." Shannon’s courage and her ability to incite action in others led to her founding of Moms Demand Action, a six-million-person movement advocating for gun safety legislation.

How can we find or create our own huddles?

Not everyone’s version of extraordinary will make national headlines. Women can (and should) seek out huddles to support them personally and professionally. Activism is not a requirement.

Be real, be honest. Let people see what’s hard, and what hurts. This creates lasting connection.

To inspire and support women in taking action to create their own huddles, Brooke provides an epilogue that describes a series of tangible steps we can take.

Brooke and I discussed three of those steps, which are:

  1. Do hard things with your huddle. While Brooke credits author Glennon Doyle with the wisdom to “do hard things.” (Brooke added the “with your huddle” part.) Whether speaking out against injustice or doing a killer hike, doing hard things with your huddle will leave you forever bonded together.
  2. Show real vulnerability. Brooke and I talked about the Instagram-like filters so many of us feel compelled to show our lives through. But don’t. Be real, be honest. Let people see what’s hard, and what hurts. This creates lasting connection. It shows you who shares your passion. 
  3. Find members who don’t look like you. Brooke’s friend, rapper and activist Killer Mike, brought this point to life for her. It’s essential to be surrounded by faces and voices and newsfeeds that aren’t just echo chambers for what we already believe to be true. Expanding our circle expands our perspective.  

There’s so much great wisdom in the book. Listen to our interview for more great insights. And then pick up Huddle – How Women Unlock Their Collective Power from your favorite bookseller or on Amazon

About the Author

Rachel Cooke

Rachel Cooke is a leadership and workplace expert who holds her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Founder of Lead Above Noise, she has been named a top 100 Leadership Speaker by Inc. Magazine and has been featured in Fast Company, The Huffington Post, and many more.