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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.

Powerful Women Pro Bono Series Recap

15 Apr

All last week, for National Volunteer Week, we asked some of the most inspirational, interesting and powerful women we know to send us their pro bono stories. The result was our Powerful Women series. In case you missed any of them, here are all 18.

“Pro bono is a particular way for one to use her BLANK for good.” “It’s all about putting out a positive light — the more you give, the more you get.” “It’s a muscle: Having an idea, and then making it happen. You can do it every day of your life.”
“The single biggest pool of untapped natural resource in this world is human good intentions that never translate into action.” “Volunteering is like yoga, just get yourself there and the energy will take over.” “If we don’t put limitations on what we can do, then our opportunities are endless.”
“I believe that each of us is born with unlimited and untapped potential to give.” “I salute you volunteers. Go make me proud.” “What an amazing world it would be if every professional gave away 50 hours a year of their time for the public good.”
“Helping and empowering others will make the world a better place for us all.” “When the dollar sign is not your main driver, your purpose becomes very clear.” “Volunteer. Give pro bono. Help others. It’s the right thing to do, and it will boost your happiness.”
“It’s not about giving money, but giving either what you know, or helping through your own channels and platforms.” “Giving of yourself and your gifts is a profoundly transformative experience.” “By giving a little, I’ve gained a lot. You may want to give it a try. “
“I think the best kind of giving comes when you are supporting causes that nest deeply in your heart.” “You get to grow by giving, and giving starts with a simple YES.” “I love how the web allows us to contribute in ways we never could before.”

Powerful Women: Rachel Sklar

15 Apr

Rachel Sklar is a founding editor of Mediaite.com and a former senior editor at the Huffington Post. She currently works with Hashable, the best way to track and store your connections to the awesome people you meet. She is the founder of two advocacy organizations: Change The Ratio, which promotes visibility, access and opportunity for women in new media and tech; and Charitini, which promotes social microgiving around events. Rachel’s post is part of our week-long celebration of Powerful Women who give pro bono, for National Volunteer Week. You can check out all of the posts here.

In my life, the word “volunteering” has always been synonymous with “stepping up.” To volunteer is to be that kid putting her hand up in class (yes, I identify strongly with Hermione) or running for the student council or joining the school paper or, as I fondly recall from high school, bringing the Rocky Horror Picture Show to the cafeteria and encouraging everyone to throw toilet paper and dress up in fishnets. (Adding value to the world? You bet.) Volunteerism means being a joiner – but it also means being a starter.

Powerful Women: Susan Danziger

15 Apr

Susan Danziger is the CEO and Founder of DailyLit, a leading publisher of serialized books in digital form. Susan’s post is part of our week-long celebration of Powerful Women who give pro bono, for National Volunteer Week. You can check out all of the posts here.

I feel honored to have been selected as one of the “20 powerful woman doing pro-bono work” by Catchafire. I love that Catchafire benefits both not-for-profits and social entrepreneurs as well as the volunteers who can give to a good cause and hone their skills in the process. That’s exactly what happened with DailyLit, the company I founded and run.

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Powerful Women: Gretchen Rubin

15 Apr

Gretchen Rubin is the best-selling writer whose book, The Happiness Project, is the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. Gretchen’s post is part of our week-long celebration of Powerful Women who give pro bono, for National Volunteer Week. You can check out all of the posts here.

Volunteer. Give Pro Bono. Help Others. It’s the Right Thing to Do, and It Will Boost Your Happiness.

Volunteering is the right thing to do — we all know that. And studies show that it boosts happiness; those who work to further causes they value tend to be happier and healthier, experience fewer aches and pains, and even live longer. And it’s not just that helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; studies show that helping others itself causes happiness. “Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons,” as one of my happiness paradoxes holds. About a quarter of Americans volunteer, and of those, a third volunteers for more than a hundred hours each year (which requires just two hours each week).

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Powerful Women: Cindy Gallop

15 Apr

Cindy Gallop is a veteran advertising and public relations executive, author, branding expert, and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and Make Love Not Porn. Cindy’s post is part of our week-long celebration of Powerful Women who give pro bono, for National Volunteer Week. You can check out all of the posts here.

Microactions + skillset match = easy-peasy

The single biggest pool of untapped natural resource in this world is human good intentions that never translate into action. Have you been thinking that you would really love to do something to help other people…to give in some way…to feel that you are doing something meaningful and worthwhile…but somehow never gotten round to actually doing anything about it?

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Powerful Women: Shauna Robertson

15 Apr

Shauna Robertson is a film producer whose credits include Superbad, Knocked Up, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Along with her fiance, actor Edward Norton, she recently co-founded the innovative charity site Crowdrise. Shauna’s post is part of our week-long celebration of Powerful Women who give pro bono, for National Volunteer Week. You can check out all of the posts here.

Up until recently, all I did was make movies. Goofy movies. Not documentaries about how to save the planet. I was pretty good at it and I enjoyed every minute of it.

About 2 years ago I realized I that the more successful I became the more I pushed things I really cared about to the back burner. I was not one of those people who could “find the balance” so I bailed on show biz and here I am.

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