Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

Corporate Marketing Leader and Influencer

Brooke Skinner Ricketts ’97

Chief Marketing Officer,

Brooke Skinner Ricketts has had an extraordinary career as a brand strategist, product innovator, and corporate leader for companies as diverse as eBay, Kraft, SC Johnson, and BMW.

She’s developed forward-thinking strategies at several top marketing agencies and internet companies, including FCB Global, Digitas, and Twitter, where she was head of brand strategy. At Avant, a leading online financial service, she served as vice president of brand and design. Now, as chief marketing officer at, she leads all marketing functions for one of the world’s largest digital automotive marketplaces.

Brooke has been recognized for her leadership, making Crain’s Tech 50 and Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40 lists, and channels these skills into the nonprofit sector. With her wife, Laura Ricketts, who is part owner of the Chicago Cubs, Brooke is a vocal proponent of LGBTQ causes; in 2013, she cofounded She100, whose advocacy focuses on the queer women’s and youth communities in Chicago.

Brooke serves on the board for Cubs Charities, a program of the Chicago Cubs that provides increased access to sports opportunities, and targets improvements in health, fitness, and education for children and families across Chicago. She has also joined the board of directors for HyreCar, the carsharing marketplace for ridesharing.

Brooke completed her BA at Simon’s Rock with concentrations in Politics, Law, and Society, and Art History. The rigorous liberal arts curriculum at Simon’s Rock prepares students for a path to leadership.

Skills for Success

Brooke discovered that many of the skills necessary to lead in the corporate world are those she learned at Simon’s Rock. She credits her early college experience for giving her the educational foundation in problem-solving and critical thinking to turn her BA in Politics, Law, and Society, and Art History into a successful career.

The skills that are valued among the leadership are really the skills that you learn in liberal arts. It’s critical thinking, problem-solving, taking a look at challenges from new perspectives, and working together. Those are the skills that absolutely set me up for success in my career.

“Brooke’s path has been extraordinary so far,” says Dr. Ian Bickford, Provost of Simon’s Rock, “not just in terms of her tremendous career success but also in her dedication to issues of inclusion and equity.”

Brooke’s professors challenged her to think deeper. “Simon’s Rock sets really high standards and takes everyone very seriously. It’s certainly something that I’ve translated into my professional career.”

Simon’s Rock instilled in Brooke a willingness to draw upon her experiences to help create change, whether in the corporate world or in a political context. “That is definitely something that started at Simon’s Rock and has continued to be cultivated.”

Brooke graduated from Simon’s Rock believing she would tell stories as a documentary filmmaker. She explained that “a good story explores ideas that are going to be most compelling and most motivating to people.” She learned how to tell a good story while working on her senior thesis, “Documenting Documentary Film: Theory in Context,” and now tells stories in her career and through her activism.

Brooke shared her journey from early college to the corporate world during her talk for Uncommon Journeys, a Simon's Rock alumni speaker series. “In every instance my work is drawn from my Simon’s Rock experience. My focus is on understanding people—what matters to them, what motivates them—and then I translate that understanding into opportunity for business and progress for my communities: helping businesses and brands connect with people in more meaningful ways, and helping people connect with businesses.”

Watch: Uncommon Journeys

Learn more about Brooke’s unconventional journey from Simon’s Rock to a high-profile career. 

One decision, unlimited possibilities

Simon’s Rock is college now for motivated younger students ready to realize their intellectual and creative potential.


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