Preparing for brilliance

Raised in Kokomo, Indiana, Brooke overcame a degenerative hip condition to excel in sports and academics. She was headed to one of the service academies to study engineering, but on the eve of becoming a cadet had a change of heart. She realized she wanted more than engineering and promised her parents she would make them proud with whatever new route she took, one that would satisfy her affinity for operations research and logistics.

Beth Brooke

Krannert Dean P. Christopher Earley presented Beth Brooke with an honorary doctorate in management at Purdue’s spring commencement ceremonies. (Photo by Mark Simons)

She landed a basketball scholarship at Purdue –– one of the early beneficiaries of Title IX, which just celebrated the 40th anniversary of its passage –– and, with a place as a forward and sometimes center on the women’s basketball team, pursued a Krannert degree in industrial management and computer science, with a smattering of accounting.

“Purdue prepared me brilliantly,” she says. “Unlike my counterparts at different universities who were educated to a set of rules, I got educated to a way of thinking, an analytical rigor of how to both see a problem, think about a problem and solve a problem. It was a discipline of how to think, challenge, not accept the status quo, and envision what could be.”

Following graduation, Brooke joined Big 8 accounting firm Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) as an auditor in the Indianapolis office, quickly moving to the tax practice area and a focus on Indiana’s insurance industry. In 1990, she was named a partner and assumed oversight of the national insurance tax practice in Washington, D.C. She now ferries back and forth between an office in New York City and one in the nation’s capital as she oversees the firm’s positions on global policy.

For two years, from 1991 to 1993, Brooke served in the Clinton administration’s Department of Treasury. She played roles in health care reform and Superfund reform. The experience, mediating between corporate, environmental and governmental factions, revealed a passion for public policy.

Brooke’s day job has her immersed in the most critical issues facing the world capital markets. Whether it is sovereign debt in Europe, regulatory harmonization across the world, or enhancing the role of her profession in contributing to confidence in the capital markets, she perpetually finds herself and her colleagues at the epicenter of some of the world’s most pressing challenges … a place she loves to be.

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