Carolynn Brooks is passionate about empowering individuals and emerging leaders within diverse environments to push through their perceived limitations, embrace their strengths and talents to make a difference and drive change.
She has been a lifelong champion, fighting for empowerment and inclusion in both the corporate world and local communities. Carolynn began her company, KEYS4Empowerment following a successful corporate career to continue in this pursuit of empowering individuals and businesses to be change agents to push through their perceived limitations to achieve their goals. Carolynn is excited to have the opportunity to share her wisdom with not just one organization but multiple corporations, non-profits and the community. Carolynn is an author, public speaker, spiritual advisor and executive coach.
Ms. Brooks served as Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer for OfficeMax. While in this role, she was responsible for the strategic direction of all initiatives designed to create a diverse workforce and promote inclusive practices to achieve the company’s strategic business imperatives. Ms. Brooks had responsibility for Workforce Diversity, Supplier Diversity, EEO/AAP and Community Affairs.
She was the chairperson for the OfficeMax Diversity Council and President of the OfficeMax Charitable Foundation.
Ms. Brooks joined OfficeMax in 2001 in human resources. In 2006, Ms. Brooks was promoted to Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer to create a culture of inclusion and serve as a champion for change efforts related to a diverse work environment. Under her leadership, the OfficeMax Diversity Council oversaw the strategic plans, metrics and accountability that embeds diversity and inclusion related initiatives at all levels within the organization.
Ms. Brooks also led in the creation and launch of OfficeMax Associate Resource Groups to help OfficeMax promote broader associate understanding, appreciation of diverse experiences and perspectives, and identify solutions to workplace barriers. She also oversaw OfficeMax’s community outreach.
Ms. Brooks has received recognition for her leadership from Chicago MSDC for Outstanding Leader Legacy Award, Chicago Uptown Professional Catalyst and NY Diversity and Inclusion Award (DANDI) for Leadership. In 2011, Ms. Brooks was recognized by Black Enterprise as a top executive in Diversity. She was also profiled in the Diversity Business Journal as an Executive Woman Worth Watching and in Savoy Magazine as Top Influential Woman in Corporate America. She was awarded the AWBC Award for her service in the community. In 2010, Ms. Brooks received National Diversity Council’s award as one of Illinois’ Most Powerful and Influential Women. In 2009, Ms. Brooks was awarded the Diversity Officer Leadership Award by Diversity Best Practices in Washington, D.C., for her innovative solutions and outstanding contributions to workplace diversity and inclusion.