Brooke’s early career was in the Commonwealth public service in compliance related roles. Brooke then practised as a solicitor in private practice in dust diseases litigation, before joining the NSW public service ten years ago. Brooke has held a number of roles during this time including as an Analyst, Legal Officer and Executive Officer. Her expertise is in regulation, governance, risk management, policy and legal which she has used to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable people in the community services sectors. Brooke enjoys researching and writing for a range of audiences, and engaging with the community on a variety of issues. She also enjoys fostering relationships to achieve common goals.
In 2017, Brooke was elected as a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia, recognising her standing and experience in the governance and risk management fields. She has always been a lover of theatre and music, especially classical, and still enjoys occasionally playing the piano.
Brooke would like to see the Conservatorium continue to grow and strongly believes music is central to education.
What boards AND COMMITTEES do you CURRENTLY sit on?
I currently sit on the Board of the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music as an Ordinary Board member. This is my first Board appointment. I previously was the Treasurer for the Koolewong, Tascott and Point Claire Progress Association. I’m their current Public Officer.
When and why did you decide to PURSUE BOARDS?
I decided to pursue Boards around 4 years ago as I have a keen interest in governance and was completing Post-graduate study in that field at the time. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of operational governance and gaining the committee role, and then the Board role through WOB is helping me to do that.
WHAT challenges and hurdles HAVE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME IN PURSUING BOARDS AND/OR SERVING ON BOARDS?
I’ve had to overcome my fear of public speaking and embrace networking - they don’t come naturally to me which being a lawyer is surprising! I was also a bit hesitant in pursuing the Board role at the Conservatorium as I was heavily pregnant at the time I nominated for it and didn’t think I would manage the role with a new baby. However, I was strongly encouraged to apply and have been very supported in ensuring I can do both roles. The Conservatorium has been very flexible in its approach and I have dialled in to a few Board meetings rather than attend in person which has been great with a newborn.
Have you had mentors and/or sponsors and have they helped you? if so, how?
I had a great career coach around 4 years ago who really helped me clearly identify my goals. Gaining a board appointment was one of them, and by implementing strategies and goals with her I was able to achieve that. She held me accountable for achieving my goals and by doing that I was able to steadily pursue the Committee and then Board appointments. We’re great friends now and I still run my ideas past her.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
WOB has helped me by ensuring I felt comfortable in nominating myself for the Board appointment. They encouraged me to pursue it and to maintain another focus professionally, which is so important when on a long period of maternity leave.
ANY TIPS FOR WOMEN STARTING OUT ON THEIR JOURNEY TO THE BOARDROOM?
network, network, network. It’s critical to getting yourself known. Reach out to the person you’ve been following on LinkedIn and go to as many events as you can. I found talking with a trusted work colleague about how he gained his first Board appointment was also really helpful. It can be uncomfortable at first but getting out of your comfort zone is the first step.