What you see is what you get with me. I strive to be an authentic leader. I am all in … at work, at home, and in the community. I love a challenge, and am having the time of my life building a new start-up business within AT&T. It has ignited my competitive spirit, allowed me to attract diverse and talented leaders, and inspired me to draw on all my creative abilities (art, music, team, and family) to bring it to life.
Sharing our inspirations and best selves with our colleagues opens doors to new possibilities.
I encourage folks to start with what inspires them and let it shine through at the office. Our workspace was built around our creative inspirations. The nature-themed artwork was hand selected from the AT&T Archives. Music, which is part of our Friday team meetings, energizes folks to end the week strong. We work together and play together, which reinforces a deep sense of trust. Our goals are clear, and we are on a mission to create and execute new business opportunities for the marketplace.
Building a successful business requires embracing diversity. Imagine a workplace where everyone’s voice counts. We created a new collaborative way for AT&T to go to market, crowd-sourced a diverse set of leaders, and nurtured an inclusive and highly entrepreneurial culture. Levels don’t matter—people sit side by side in an open space with few walls. Collaboration extends outside the office through working on community service projects. This fast-moving startup is changing how AT&T does business.
To be an authentic leader, my advice is to do the following:
• Set clear goals and communicate often
• Be intentional in everything you do
• Empower others to be innovative and make decisions
• Connect and collaborate openly
• Learn from mistakes and move forward
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Raise your hand and say yes to the big challenges and opportunities. Go for it, and do it your own way. Use your resources and deliver results.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
Lea Ann Champion was a trailblazing executive, mentor, colleague, and friend. She built the U-verse business for AT&T, which is now a nearly $14 billion business for AT&T annually. She was a creative, tenacious, and resourceful leader, who also had a generous and giving spirit. From her, I learned the key elements of building a strong organization—being open, moving fast, keeping the structure flat to empower people, and maintaining open and continuous lines of communication. She died in 2012, after a long and courageous fight with breast cancer. During that time, I learned grace, courage, perseverance, and humility from her. Her legacy lives on through leaders at AT&T and through her daughters, with whom I remain close. I’m a better leader and person for knowing Lea Ann.
Brooks’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
1) Be curious. Ask questions!
2) Join in the conversation … your voice matters
3) Hone your critical thinking skills
4) Connect and collaborate with others
5) Don’t play it safe; have courage to leap!