Allow us to introduce Brooke Thomas, the Diversity Outreach and Engagement Program Manager with Lockheed Martin!
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Let us tell you a little bit about Brooke Thomas.
Brooke Thomas is a native of Baltimore, Maryland currently residing in Ft Worth, Texas. She is employed with Lockheed Martin, Aeronautics, as a Diversity Outreach and Engagement Program Manager. In this role, she facilitates the diversity outreach efforts to expand talent pipelines, develops, and implements D&I initiatives and manages community resource groups. Brooke has a background in HR Equity and Compliance. She also serves as a member of the Disability: In ERG/BRG Leadership Committee.
Explain how COVID-19/ George Floyd's death has impacted you (emotionally, physically, finically, spiritually, and mentally) in a positive and negative way.
Although COVID19/George Floyd’s death has brought on stress and some anxiety. It has allowed me to reboot emotionally and spiritually. I am spending more time reading, exercising, and connecting with friends and family. In addition, George Floyd’s death has served as another reminder of the racial injustices within our society, many of which I’ve seen firsthand growing up. It has increased the need for non-African Americans to educate themselves on the injustices that exist and identify ways we can come together from diverse backgrounds to end inequity and systemic racism.
Tell us about your company/occupation. What’s your biggest professional or personal accomplishment? Explain how you felt working towards it and how you felt when it was achieved.
My biggest personal accomplishment has been working with my family to honor the life of my cousin, Channing Matthews, with the launch of CHANs Promise a non-profit focused on advocating for specialized care for medically fragile kids. Through our efforts, we have developed and presented Senate Bill 0733, Care for Medically Fragile Individuals (Channings Law) to the Maryland General Assembly which requires improved training programs and skills review for nurses who care for medically fragile individuals in-home care settings. Working towards the development of the bill and non-profit has truly been a labor of love. It is driven out of pain for a child lost too early but the need to protect other children in similar circumstances. My family has used our individual professional expertise to lobby for change and the feeling of stepping into a Senator’s office and being heard and understood is indescribable. My family and I are working diligently to get our bill passed, share our experiences on large platforms to influence change, and to assist families in need due to similar circumstances.
What was your childhood like? Describe your environment from your house to your neighborhood to your school. How did these experiences shape you and your future success?
I wasn’t raised in a typical family structure, my aunts and grandparents were my primary caregivers. They were strong providers so I never felt inferior or different due to not having active parents in my life. Growing up in Baltimore City had its challenges and I’ve had unfavorable experiences but I’ve always been very focused on my goals. My family has served as positive reinforcements making sure I had a proper education and the needed tools to thrive. Overall my experiences taught me to be grateful for every blessing that God has provided, share the knowledge I’ve gained with others, actively listen and show others the same compassion my family has always given me.
Tell us about your inner circle (close friends, family, mentors, relationship). How does their support impact your success?
My inner circle consists of high achievers! We are all truly supportive of another and we always allow the safe space to discuss our struggles, fears, and accomplishments without judgment. Their support impacts my success because they allow me to be me and they aren’t afraid to stop and question any of my actions or doubts. They hold me accountable, ensuring that I am always putting my best forward. And when I’m not putting my best forward they are willing to carry me until I’m back on my feet.
List a few habits that a young person should start implementing to set them up for a successful future?
Start educating yourself on managing and maintaining your finances, identify a mentor, someone that can offer you solid guidance, and don’t be afraid to step outside the box. Move to a different state, study aboard (when it’s safe again), educate yourself beyond the classroom, and protect your mental well-being.
Share a big mistake you made professionally or personally. How did you fix it and what did you learn?
One mistake I made professionally was putting money before opportunities. Early in my career, I was offered a position in HR and declined for another non-related HR job offering more money. This derailed my career track and I was laid off from that job due to the recession. It was painful however I was blessed with a good support group that helped me find a new job. My path to HR wasn't straightforward but I’m thankful for my experiences and the path I’ve taken. I think back sometimes about the “what if” but I have been very fortunate to succeed in my HR career due to my persistence to survive so I don’t dwell on that career mistake very often.
What are you afraid of for girls and women in the future?
I am afraid that girls and women in the future will allow society so-called norms or the culture to hold us back or feel inadequate. Pursue your career goals (big or small), buy a house (even if you’re not married), don’t worry if you’re not a mother or wife by a certain age. Seek what makes you happy and don’t feel like you have to meet the expectations of others. The more comfortable you are with you, the more people will be attracted to your authenticity and confidence.
If you could give your 18 -year-old self-advice about the adult you are today, what would it be?
You will be ok and surpass your own expectations. You will learn not to carry other people’s burdens and the road won’t be easy but every journey is a lesson.