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  • Writer's picturePaula Braun

People Who Choose to Lead

Seth Godin’s latest book, This is Marketing, is for people who choose to lead. It’s a blueprint for making change happen in which Godin invites the reader to see the forces at play and navigate in a new way. In my work as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I have turned to Godin’s work repeatedly to help me learn how to change the culture of a large Federal agency. This is Marketing provides the reader everything I wish I had known when I first started my career, namely how to overcome the noise in your head so that you can help those you seek to serve become the version of themselves they seek to be. It’s not about you, it’s about them. It’s emotional and it might not work, but it’s worth turning pro because it matters.

I first started reading Seth's Blog seven years ago after living for two years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was struggling to readjust back to life in the US. Since then, I’ve transformed from someone recovering from post traumatic stress to a bona fide change agent. I initiate more. I realize that setbacks are part of the process. I’m more comfortable on my feet. I know know myself as someone who can and does make change happen.

Participation in two in-person conferences with Godin, The AltMBA, and The Marketing Seminar, taught me how to enroll others into a vision of the future that they wanted but, up until that point, were unable to articulate a path on how to get there. For example, last time I participated in The Marketing Seminar, I was figuring out how to launch a community of state public health vital records offices who would be willing to raise their hands and go first. Six months ago, my ideas were just ideas. Now, my ideas are beginning to change the way federal, state, and local public health agencies are responding to the drug overdose crisis. We have a common goal. We’re beginning to work across our bureaucratic silos. We’ve been recognized with a best-in-show award for our presentation at the HL7 FHIR Apps Roundtable and there are now several write-ups about it on the CDC website, such as,, and

For everyone who has the courage to make a difference, This is Marketing helps demystify how people make decisions so that you can help create an experience for them that is both exceptional and worthwhile. Decide what impact you want to make, be open to what’s possible, and do it with intention. For those who are generous and willing to see in new ways, This is Marketing will help make your ideas spread.

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