Brooke Cartus: Progress Takes More than One Woman

February 19, 2018

Brooke Cartus

Brooke Cartus is speaking at the 2018 Simmons Leadership Conference!

LGBTQ activist Brooke Cartus is a senior facilitator with ImprovEdge, a corporate training and consulting company that helps clients learn to think on their feet, improve collaboration, and cultivate a positive work environment.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve gotten along the way?

My mom always told me in grammar school, “Don't let the turkeys get you down.” That advice ran through my head every first day of school, of a job, of a project, of anything. It stayed with me. I was frustrated in law school while working on a group project. I called my mom and said, “The turkeys are getting me down!” and she said, “That’s kind of the point – we are surrounded by turkeys.” There are always people around just squawking and doing little to nothing – just forge through and pay them no bother, they will be squawking long after you succeed.

If you could change one way women support other women on their path to success, what would it be?

I think that women underestimate the importance of a plurality at the table. Just one woman doesn’t always make a difference in the decision-making of a leadership group. It takes more than one woman to shift the decision making and conversation. I think we need to shift from a view of tokenization to teamwork if we are going to continue to make progress and lift one another up.

What major issue do you think women should focus on to effect change?

Women’s healthcare access is a huge priority for me. Living in a state (Ohio) with the second highest infant mortality rate in the country has really affected how I view women’s health. From well visits to cancer screenings, from affordable contraceptive access to support through childbirth, I think about how crippling it was for my life when I didn’t have access to good healthcare, and it negatively impacted every other part of my life. As women, if we could all work to give each other a baseline of healthcare, I think that would mark incredible progress.

If you could dine with anyone, past or present, with whom would you dine and what would you like to ask him or her?

Amelia Earhart! I would ask her what happened.

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Valerie Plame

Simmons Leadership Conference

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