Brooke Leader

Clear Strategy Partners Culture Series Spotlight

Brooke Leader, one of our Senior Account Coordinators, was unsure how to begin her career after college. In fact, given her far-reaching interests and knack for picking up skills on the fly, it was a challenge to choose just one educational path. She felt like she could choose any college major, secure a job and be able to enjoy the ride. It took some soul-searching and a fortuitous conversation with a stranger to send her in a fulfilling and clear direction.

Looking for Clarity

Born in Las Vegas and raised outside of Chicago, Brooke grew up alongside siblings who always had a clear plan for their future careers. She, on the other hand, had a different perspective: “My sister knew what she wanted to do since middle school. I never had that kind of clarity, so I decided to go into journalism because I love reading and writing,” Brooke said.

In her final year of high school, she applied to the undergraduate journalism program at the University of Missouri (Mizzou). She and her mother visited campus to learn more about the program and ended up having a long conversation with the concierge at their hotel. The polite small talk quickly segued into a detailed discussion about the differences between journalism, public relations and strategic communications majors. Brooke found herself surprisingly intrigued by what she had learned about writing- and communications-focused majors outside of journalism. Despite feelings of uncertainty, she decided to press on and accepted Mizzou’s offer.

Similar to many college freshman stories, Brooke felt unsettled during her first semester at Mizzou. “I thought I wanted the big SEC school that was well known and had a lot to offer,” she said, “but, I realized it was easy to get lost there and harder to find who you are and where your skills lie.” Surprisingly, the conversation with the concierge about strategic communication programs remained front of mind ever since her campus visit. She decided to act on the stranger’s advice, transferred universities and picked a new major in her second semester.

Brooke transferred to a small private school, Butler University, in Indianapolis, Indiana: “When I transferred to Butler, I changed majors to strategic communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in political science.” Butler also had a well-known strategic communications program, which was also an important factor in her decision.

Making Transitions

While enrolled at Butler, Brooke further honed her communications and writing abilities along with soft skills that would prepare her for an internship at a communications firm in Indianapolis. She considers this a major turning point in her career trajectory, as the role turned into a full-time Account Coordinator position after only two months and allowed her to gain significant hands-on work experience.

The position with the Indianapolis firm served as an excellent springboard to other opportunities that would take Brooke to the east coast. Upon leaving the job in Indiana, she moved to Washington, D.C., and secured a job with the Department of State in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs as a speechwriter. Working directly for an Assistant Secretary of State, she wrote blogs and social media, congressional testimony and remarks for senate hearings. “Some of the work I am most proud of doing is promoting the US’s demining efforts around the world and helping move policy forward to protect threatened communities,” she explained. “Working at State made me realize I wanted to continue to have a positive impact on the world and support clients who want to create a safe and sustainable future.”

Finding a Fit in Public Relations

For someone like Brooke, a position with aspects of unpredictability, coupled with a heap of weekly challenges, is a great fit. “The same type of energy and quick pace of public relations really can’t be found anywhere else,” Brooke explained. “I am grateful for my time with the Department of State, but I was anxious to get back into more PR-focused work.” In the summer of 2022, she accepted a full-time position with Clear Strategy Partners (CSP).

The variety of challenges that comes with a diverse portfolio of clients in public relations is important to her. A young professional who’s building her skill set and hoping to develop a nuanced area of expertise in the field, she finds that the unpredictability of public relations work plays to her strengths: “As an Account Coordinator, I get to work on a lot of different clients and projects, so I’m always working on something new. That’s a good thing because I’m always looking for moments where I can really shine. I’m still relatively early in my career, so I’m just taking it one day at a time. I learn everything I can from new experiences, projects and my gifted colleagues.”

Writing a New Chapter of Her Career

CSP’s company culture and its efforts to support its employees attracted Brooke for this new chapter in her career. She enjoys the flexibility of remote work and, along with finding a good work-life balance, takes advantage of the extra time that affords. She elaborated, “Since I’m not spending time commuting, I can pursue many fulfilling things during the work week. I am passionate about working out because it helps both my mental and physical health. I also love fostering dogs that are waiting to be adopted.”

The time she has been able to spend fostering dogs, she is quick to point out, has significantly changed how she approaches stressful situations both inside and outside of work. “When it comes to fostering dogs, I have had to learn a lot of patience and positivity because animals can feel that. I used to be a more impatient person, and it was sometimes to my detriment when it came to interacting with coworkers. I could get easily overwhelmed but working with animals has taught me how to slow down and be more patient in everything I do.”

Brooke was also excited to join CSP because of how members of the firm treat each other. From her first interview, she identified aspects of company culture that she knew would help her align with CSP’s values and ultimately put her best foot forward. “When I was first interviewing for a new position, one of the top things I was looking for was healthy interpersonal dynamics,” she explained. “I have a dry sense of humor. I enjoy bantering with my friends and coworkers. During my interview with CSP, there was a certain type of levity in the conversation that I saw immediately and appreciated. Everyone I spoke with seemed to be themselves, not putting on a front, which I loved.”

Even though Brooke has been with the firm for only eight months, she feels like she has hit a healthy stride. She looks forward to growing her skill set and engaging in creative collaborative projects with her coworkers as we approach the new year. “I love how small and close knit the CSP team is, but also how productive we’ve been this year,” she exclaimed. “I look forward to being with CSP as the firm grows and growing along with it!”

Brooke Leader

Senior Account Coordinator