Brooke Rothman is Selfish

13 Aug

At least that’s what she’d like us to think…

Brooke Rothman is a glamorous woman. A New Yorker by birth, she has lived all over including Miami, LA and London. By day a brand planner with the boutique ad agency Avrett Free Ginsberg, she makes her living helping large companies figure out who they are and how to tell their stories.

She’s an actress too. In fact, she even appeared in an international soap opera with a pre-fame Megan Fox. While she’s careful to point out that she “essentially played a computer nerd” and it “only showed in Sweden and South Africa”, we think she’s just being modest.

But after spending a few minutes with Brooke, you realize there’s much more to her than globetrotting, high level corporate strategizing. Even a cursory glance at the quotes on her Facebook page, “You will feel fulfilled when you do the impossible for someone else” hints that fabulous waters do, in fact, run deep. This is not your typical soap star turned ad exec.

When Brooke first heard about Catchafire at a networking lunch, she was hooked. Through the website she quickly found a cause that spoke to her: Sahasra Deepika, a non-profit foundation that houses and educates underprivileged children in Bangalore, India. Students are shown how to develop their intellectual, social, and academic potential and to bring this empowerment along into adulthood. Brooke donated 50 hours of brand messaging expertise to Sahasra Deepika and, as she recalls, it was a reciprocated gift:

Sahasra Deepika means “a thousand lights” and it actually changes children’s futures. I love that. My contact there, Sarva Rajendra, was open to new ideas, collaborative and appreciative.

In one conversation she said she felt when she met me she had “found gold.” That was a special moment. It continues to remind me that giving what I’m truly passionate about and what I’m good at can make a powerful difference. 

Brooke has decided to team up with Catchafire’s Founder/CEO Rachael Chong to pitch a panel for the 2013 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Geared for SxSW Interactive, the panel is provocatively titled Be Selfish and it aims to inspire attendees to revolutionize their ideas on volunteerism. Brooke and Rachael want to turn selflessness and altruism inside out and get at the deeper motivations for service. Brooke wonders if being motivated by selflessness is even sustainable. She says, “When you have clear intentions and you set goals for your Pro Bono experience, you can always refer when things get a bit rough, or you feel insecure, or you forget why you’re spending your free time helping someone else when you’d rather be out drinking or watching reality TV.”

Read more about the panel, Brooke and Rachael here!

Help us Get to Austin
The SxSW Programmers and Advisory Board rely on crowdsourcing to help them pick final panelists. You can help us get to Austin by voting for our Panel at the SxSW Panel Picker. Keep in mind you’ll need to sign up (they promise not to bug you), you can only vote once and sharing is golden.


2 Responses to “Brooke Rothman is Selfish”

  1. billyburgess (@billyburgess) August 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Brilliant idea. I am very interested in seeing how volunteering evolves with internet evolution. I think services like Catchafire are making volunteering exciting, rewarding, and easier than ever.

  2. markhoroszowski August 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Great post! I love your angle on volunteering, and how it can help be a launchpad for you. Good luck – I would love to see you both there!

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