Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Brooks.
Hi Jen, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Hello. My name is Jen Brooks, and I am the Athletic Director at Ursuline Academy in St. Louis, MO. I am also the founder of The Global Community of Women in High School Sports and Jen Brooks LLC. This past school year I was voted as the Missouri Athletic Director of the Year. In the 47-year history of the award I am the second woman and first nonpublic school winner.
I have been a high school Athletic Director for 26 years now, and at meetings, I am too often the only woman in the room.
After years of trying to find space to connect with other women in high school sports, I decided that this space was only going to exist if I created it. Thus, was born The Global Community of Women in High School Sports and Jen Brooks, LLC.
As I sat in these rooms and meetings, often as the only woman, I realized I had a choice to let this intimidate me or use it to my advantage. I recognized there could be power in this situation and I chose the latter. I have experienced my fair share of discrimination, but with time, the more I saw it coming, the better prepared I was to:
1. Not let it hurt me quite as much
2. Inspire me to find my voice and help others to find our seats at the table.
I became aware that I needed to use my position as “the only” to benefit other women – those who couldn’t be in the room or at the table.
I can provide various services to you, your team, your organization that will create a heightened level of awareness as well as action items to implement to create more space at your table.
Claim your space at the table! Let me help you!
Your voice deserves to be heard. I want to hear it. I want the world to hear it! This is your invitation to sit at my table. I want to help you learn ways to sit at more tables!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being in the minority is never easy. However, I am working to fix that.
My biggest challenge is being a female in a male-dominated industry. Over and over again I have to have conversations most often with men explaining why they should want me at their table. The good ole boys club is alive and thriving in the world of sports – my biggest challenge is breaking that club down. If they can see me, they can hear me.
When I reflect on my journey as a female in a male dominated industry, I see the growth of courage and confidence I have experienced. I no longer allow others to keep me out of rooms or meetings that I have a right to be in. I no longer allow others at the same table I am sitting to speak for me or over me. I have found my voice through courage and confidence, and I am going to keep on speaking.
I have the obligation to speak for those not invited to the table or those whose voices have been stifled.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Public Speaker creating awareness around the power of being the only woman in the room. I am also available for consultation for those interested in learning more about creating space at their tables, in their workplaces, in their lives for more women. If you are someone involved in the world of high school athletics, check out the Global Community. It is for EVERYONE, males and females.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Until everyone has space at the table, there will be a need for education and awareness, so as far as industry outlook goes, there is a great need for this awareness.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://jenbrooks.com/, https://globalcommunityofwomeninsports.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenBrooksLLC
- Twitter: @JenBrooks_1
Trevor Hellman – the picture in the red office Lauren Silberberg – is the photographer for the others