Board Member Q&A: Charles T. Brooks plans to encourage healthy debate

We recently welcomed a number of new board members to our Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford (ESCGR) Board. We wanted to introduce some of them to you on our Blog, and give you a better sense of who they are and why they serve. 

In this post, we spoke with Charles T. Brooks who is the Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations at Kemper Corporation, an insurance provider. He’s a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and received his MBA from Columbia University. We asked him about how he came to a life of service and why ESGR is an organization dear to his heart.

Why did you choose to give your time to the Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford Board?

Our family business—going back at least two generations—is education. I was one of the few in my family that didn’t pursue a career in education. So, working with an organization that focuses on developmental services and education for children and adults hit a couple of interest areas for me and my family, while connecting me to my family roots.

Also, ESCGR serves a wide range of individuals in the community but has a particular focus on the underserved. The existence of any underserved community bothers me, and I want to help make things better. I don’t want to put my limited “free time” toward something where people have options and resources; I want to help those that have few or no options. 

Finally, ESCGR serves important populations including early childhood and families, as well as those with a range of disabilities, but personally, autism is something that has become more and more prominent in my life. I want to help maximize the possibilities for those with an autism spectrum disorder to be independent. I also want to help their loved ones best support them. ESCGR does an incredible job doing this work.

 “I hope to be the Board Member that helps ensure balance and encourages debate to make our decisions and efforts as resilient as they can be.”

Not only are you one of our Board Members, you also are on the Board of Make-a-Wish Illinois and the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation. How did you become a person committed to service?

My commitment to service started in earnest in college when I joined a fraternity that demanded a lot of focus on serving the community. Early on, I did it mostly out of a sense of duty, but it turned into something I became passionate about. 

How do you hope to make an impact as a new board member?

The cliché answer is: “however I can.” In my professional and personal worlds, I tend to think that if everybody is thinking the same thing, someone is not thinking. Just like I want to serve underserved communities, I tend to gravitate toward underserved ideas or positions. I hope to be the Board Member that helps ensure balance and encourages debate to make our decisions and efforts as resilient as they can be. There are a lot of impressive people already on the board, so I’m not here to “save the day.” I do hope, however, to support the mission and strengthen it with energy and diversity of thought.

Published by Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford

Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford serves nearly 30,000 clients annually and proudly employs 600+ dedicated professionals in programs across the Chicagoland and Rockford regions of Illinois. Established in 1936, we support children, individuals with disabilities, and their families through two pillars of work: Comprehensive Autism and Behavioral Services and Early Learning and Developmental Services

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