The University of Georgia’s Alumni Association annually recognizes outstanding alumni who have made an impact in their careers through its 40 Under 40 program. Grady College is proud to have seven honorees in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018: Brooke Bowen (ABJ ‘07, JD ‘10), Chase Cain (ABJ ’05), Meredith Dean (ABJ ‘14), Josh Delaney (ABJ’11, AB ‘11), Ivey Evans (ABJ ’06, BBA ’06, MBA ‘13), Quanza Griffin (ABJ ‘01) and Lauren Pearson (ABJ ‘02).
Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their impact in business, leadership, community, artistic, research, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors. The 2018 Class will be honored at the awards luncheon on Sept. 13, 2018, at the Georgia Aquarium.
Grady College will release profiles of the winners leading up to the awards luncheon.
Name: Brooke Bowen
Graduation Year: 2007, 2010
Current Occupation: Legal counsel, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Grady College: What advice do you have for current Grady College students/young professionals?
Brooke Bowen: Current students – Visit your professors during office hours. They are experts in their field and they are eager to share their knowledge with you — and it’s free. Take advantage of that unique opportunity.
Young professionals – Seek out a mentor in your chosen field or a field that interests you. I was blessed to have Roz Fink, a trailblazer in higher education law and the past director of Columbia University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, as my mentor when I practiced law in New York City. Roz provided me with unparalleled advice and introduced me to other leaders in the higher education law world who were also generous with sharing what they had learned through the years with me. I would not be where I am today without them.
GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute most to your success?
BB: Hard work and honesty. When I was interviewing for a summer associate position in law school, one of the firm’s partners (who held a J.D. and a M.D.) told me that if you work just one hour longer than each of your colleagues each day, you’ll have gained 365 more hours of insight and experience each year. Though the math is simple, the idea is profound, and it is something that I’ve worked to carry with me through my professional career. The little extra time each day adds up so quickly and the benefits that I’ve reaped cannot be overstated.
Equally important has been my commitment to unwavering honesty in my personal and professional dealings. Growing up, my dad always told me that no matter what I did, if I was honest with him, then he’d help me work through any mistake. He was quick to add, though, that I could never lie to him because trust lost is not easily regained. Throughout the numerous investigations that I’ve conducted and lawsuits that I’ve defended, the downfall almost always comes not with the initial misstep, but with the cover-up. People understand that people make mistakes, but you must be honest, own up to those mistakes and learn from them and protect your credibility every step of the way.
GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as you’ve navigated through your career?
BB: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, ask questions and raise concerns if you don’t agree with the position being taken. My husband often reminds me that I have earned the right to be at every table where I am seated and that I should not shy away when I have something worthwhile to say. In the same vein, he taught me to introduce myself to everyone at the table before taking a seat at conferences, workshops and business lunches and dinners, as everyone is likely as much, if not more, nervous than I am and will appreciate the icebreaker. Like with most things, he was absolutely right; I have met some of my closest colleagues in the higher education law profession nationwide by doing just that.
GC: Describe a moment in your professional/personal career that you are most proud of.
BB: Beginning in late 2016, I led a system-wide review of free expression policies and practices at all University System of Georgia colleges and universities, which culminated in the current Board of Regents’ Policy on Freedom of Expression. The policy highlights the Board’s and the University System’s commitment to safeguarding the extremely important First Amendment rights of our 325,000 students and 150,000 faculty and staff members. I continue to work with University System Office administrators and staff, as well as campus leaders at all USG institutions, to ensure that we are protecting and promoting free expression rights throughout the USG.