Good morning and welcome to another Winning With Women Wednesday. Last week we interviewed, Charles (Chuck) Brooks who currently serves as the Vice President for Government Relations & Marketing for Sutherland Global Services. Chuck leads Federal, State & Local Government relations activities. He is also an Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Technology Partner network and serves on the boards of several prominent public and private companies and organizations. Chuck has extensive service in Senior Executive Management, Marketing, Government Relations, and Business Development and worked in those capacities for three large public corporations.
In government, he served at the Department of Homeland Security as the first Director of Legislative Affairs for the Science & Technology Directorate. He also spent six years on Capitol Hill as a Senior Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter where he covered foreign affairs, business, and technology issues. In academia, Chuck was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught graduate level students about Homeland Security and Congress. He has an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague. Chuck is widely published on the subjects of innovation, public/private partnerships, emerging technologies, and issues of homeland security and cyber security.
Summary of Chuck Brook’s Career Accomplishments
- LinkedIn Profile is top 1% of all views worldwide.
- Published in:
- Huffington Post
- Information Week
- MIT Sloan Blog
- Federal Times
- Government Security News
- Cygnus Security Media
- Homeland Security Today
- The Hill
- Biometric Update
- Government Executive
- Presidential Appointments: Received Presidential Appointments to serve in executive roles from two Presidents of the United States.
- DHS: Helped “stand up” Office of Legislative Affairs at the US Department of Homeland Security and served as the first Director of Legislative Affairs at the Science & Technology Directorate.
- Congress: Served as Senior Legislative Staff (defense, foreign affairs, security, tech, business) to the late Senator Arlen Specter at U.S. Senate.
- Academia: Former Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).
- Serve on the Board of Directors for Encrypt, Inc.
- The Franklin Foundation for Innovation
- Safe America Foundation
- Governance Committee of the IJIS Institute.
- Social media expertise: 20,000+ endorsements and 31,000 First degree connections, 42,000,000 in network. Co-leader of two of the most prominent Homeland Security Groups on LinkedIn and manage several other business, tech related LI groups.
- Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Technology Partner Network
- Honorary Member – Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square
1. Chuck, please share with us what your current position as the Vice President of Government Relations & Marketing at Sutherland Global Services entails?
I lead the Federal, State and Local Government relations activities for Sutherland Government Solutions (SGSI). Also, I am responsible for the Marketing portfolio (Media, Events, Public Relations, Digital Outreach, Thought Leadership, Strategic Partnering, and Branding) for the Federal, State & Local markets. I am also involved in scouting mergers and acquisitions (M & A) for federal business opportunities.
2. More women than men earn college degrees, and increasingly, advanced degrees. Notably, they earn almost half of advanced business degrees.
Yet, women only represent 16.9 percent of board of directors at Fortune 500 companies. Do you think the conversation around women and leadership is just about power? Why or Why not? The question is not just about power. Power is always a factor in human and corporate dealings for those who want to pursue their visions. The real issue is bringing in the best qualified minds and grooming them for the opportunities to lead. Women have been severely underrepresented in relationship to their experience, capabilities, and educational background. That imbalance must be rapidly ameliorated. There is certainly no issue relating to a lack of talent or ability because of gender to serve in leadership roles. The balance of men and woman on boards should be a goal of companies and organizations. Those companies will benefit from different perspectives and approaches and will ultimately be more successful.
3. What does it mean to you for women to be invited to the table and to have a “voice” in meetings?
It means that their ideas should be heard and shared and part of the decision-making process. A “voice” also means presenting insights on issues from a woman’s viewpoint should be encouraged and appreciated.
4. If you are speaking to an audience of women MBA students, what three pieces of advice would you give them?
1) Make sure to gain an understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), Information Technology (IT) and emerging technologies. The new digital paradigms are the future of business. There is no reason that women cannot be leaders in science & technology fields. 2) Consider interning for a couple of different types of businesses or organizations so that you can get an idea of what industry interests you most for a career. 3) Network, network, and network with alumni, friends, and on social media. You never know from who or where an opportunity may arise.
5. In 2014, Sheryl Sandberg launched a campaign to ban the word “Bossy” to empower girls to lead. How can women manage the perceptions around assertiveness or being labeled “bossy”, particularly when they are often judged more harshly than men?
Unfortunately, the “Bossy” stigma has been perpetrated by cinema and TV culture over the years. I commend Sheryl Sandberg for initiating the campaign and it should be expanded by other companies. My advice to woman is don’t be afraid to be assertive, it is necessary to lead. Two women Rangers can now say “Rangers lead the way!” Like the military, I think the dynamics of corporate leadership are changing with the new generations of workers. The Googles, Yahoos, and other modern companies have adopted less stratified social cultures based on generating creative ideas and work product. Corporate Americas “Old Boy Clubs” are thankfully dwindling but it will take another generation working together for it to fully change.
6. Have you mentored women throughout your career? If so, what are three best tips you can give them for success?
Yes, I have mentored several women over my career and now mostly my two daughters. The best tips I could give would be:
1) Believe in yourself.
2) Participate and create opportunities.
3) Keep on learning and adding to your credentials.
7. How do you hire?
I have always hired who I think would be the best person for the role. The key is making sure that a diverse group of people are provided the opportunity to be interviewed. This has always included women and minorities, many who I have hired.
8. What’s unusual about the organizations you currently advise or sit on the board for i.e. (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Franklin Foundation for Innovation, SAFE America Foundation, the IJIS Institute)?
I believe what is unusual with all of these organizations is that they are forward thinking and inclusive of women board members. They also all have a technology focus.
9. How important do you think it is for men to mentor women in the workplace?
Very important. In general having a mentor is an asset and they can be a guiding light for career mobility. I think having a man mentor a woman helps break down potential barriers.
10. Has there been a woman who has influenced or mentored you in your professional career?
Several, I have had some inspirational female bosses in my career, including at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and my current company. They have always provided advice and friendship. My biggest mentor was my late mother, Dorothy Brooks. She test glided gliders for the Army during World War II and attended the University of Chicago before there were many female students. My Mom along with my sister Joanne, built a successful event design and planning agency which has been in business for 30 years called, Creative Impact Group, Inc.
11. Why do you feel it is imperative to have women in the workplace?
I am a big believer in Ying/Yang. The combination of men and women working together will lead to better balance of ideas and energies. I would not want to be part of a company that did not have women as a key part of its leadership and workforce.