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Hall-Of-Famer Beth Brooke On Owning Your Failures

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In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, Beth Brooke sat down with longtime Sports Illustrated Associate Editor, Don Yaeger, to discuss how sports shaped her leadership journey.

In a world where finger-pointing and playing the blame game has become second nature in many organizations, Beth Brooke offers a unique example of extraordinary achievement precisely because she owns her failures. Flipping that script landed Brooke on the Forbes “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list eleven times and in 2015, she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

As a celebrated high school hoops star who averaged a double-double over three consecutive years, Brooke missed the final shot in a game that would have propelled her team deep into the Indiana State championship tournament. She turned her disappointment into a life-changing discipline: lose, learn, get better. “You don’t crawl up in a ball and die. You go back to the gym, study game film, and work on your quest for perfection,” Brooke said. Her approach earned her a place in collegiate hoops history as a member of the first class of women recruits to receive a basketball scholarship to Purdue University. There she graduated top of her class and earned the top score on the national CPA examination. As an executive at Ernst & Young, where she oversaw operations in 150 countries, she applied the lesson of “ownership” by successfully steering the firm through its worst public relations fiasco ever: the HealthSouth scandal of 1999.

Recently retired, she now devotes herself to bringing her prodigious team-building and problem-solving expertise to numerous boards, including The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the International Women’s Forum. This episode of Corporate Competitor Podcast illustrates in Brooke’s own words how communication, diversity and inclusion, and a culture of constructive feedback can help employees think more like owners.


5:00   Beth’s best childhood memories with her father.

9:00   How to use failure to become a stronger competitor.

12:00  How to seek constructive feedback.

25:00  The power in protecting part of your day.

40:00 Why diverse teams outperform homogenous teams.

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


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