I am an undergraduate from the class of 1997. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where I live today. I have been married to my husband, Will Stacy, for 16 years, and we have two children, Carolyn (age 13) and Wofford (age 11).
I spent five years working in commercial real estate before joining Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, where I worked for eight years until I started my own boutique executive search firm. My business partner, Allison Brooks, and I founded Brooks Stacy, LLC in January 2013 and continue to serve clients that retain us to recruit senior-level talent.
I have been active in my community serving in my family’s church, my children’s school, and for several not-for-profit organizations in Houston.
I have also supported and served W&L in several capacities since I graduated. I’m one of W&L’s biggest cheerleaders and cherish my four years as an undergraduate as well as the wonderful friends and alumni that remain a very important part of my life today. I love the outdoors, good food and wine, traveling, and mostly, time with my family and dear friends.
The voice I can bring to the board
I care deeply for our alma mater. My four years at Washington and Lee were four of the best years of my life. I grew intellectually and emotionally. I loved my classes and my professors, and the W&L community from administrators and security officers to janitors and dining staff. I made wonderful friends that are still dear to me 25 years later. I love the beauty of W&L’s campus, Lexington, and the Shenandoah Valley. I have served W&L in numerous capacities as a student and as an alumnae.
I am worried about the current state of our University amidst deep political, social, historical, and racial strife. There is a lack of reasonableness and a complete unwillingness of some groups to listen to others’ points of view. I fear our administration, faculty, and alumni have forgotten the tremendous value of civil discourse—and that W&L students aren’t being taught its value. It was this aspect of my W&L education that I value the most and still carry in my professional and personal life today.
W&L is a community built on civility from its earliest founding leaders. It pains me to see the polarizing views and disrespectful behavior among so many groups of our University’s constituents. We can’t honor and learn from our University’s history or prepare our students for today and the future without civil discourse. We must calm down and listen to each other. We must respect each other’s opinions and backgrounds and be open to ideas that may differ from our own.
Personally, I was not in favor of changing the name of Washington and Lee. I believe the University was named for George Washington and Robert E. Lee for their tremendous service to the University and not for any reasons related to their role in American history or the Civil War. But I understand it was a divisive decision and that other tough decisions had to be made to satisfy more than one point of view.
We need to remember what makes a liberal arts education so great, and that is the exploration of diverse thoughts and ideas. It takes emotional maturity, self-awareness, and curiosity to want to understand why people think differently. I also fear the loss of our student run government and student autonomy, which were very valued aspects of my W&L education. I feel I would bring a voice of reason for the strength and health of our beloved Washington and Lee in this polarizing and uncertain time.
My service to the University community
Prior to graduation, I served on the Executive Committee (senior year), Mock Convention Steering Committee (sophomore and junior years), Dorm Counselor (junior year), Kathekon (junior and senior years), and Student Activities Board (freshman and sophomore years).
Since graduation, I have served as a Class Agent (five years), Houston AAP Leader (five years), Houston Alumni Chapter Board (10 years), W&L Alumni Board (four years), and on the Reunion Committees for my class’s 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th reunions.
Other community service
I have served as a volunteer serving weekly dinners at Star of Hope Men’s Shelter; founding member of Carousel, a young professionals group raising awareness and support of Texas Children’s Cancer Center; the Board and Executive Committee of Ronald McDonald House Houston since 2013 and President of the Board of Ronald McDonald House Houston from January 2019 – January 2021; volunteer at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church; and parent volunteer and member of the Board of Trustees of St. Francis Episcopal School (2019-present).
Relevant personal and professional experience
I am business owner of Brooks Stacy, LLC, a retained executive search firm (www.brooks-stacy.com), and work with a diverse client base to recruit individuals to fill specific, senior-level positions. Running a small business is a challenge in any economic climate, but the last two years have been particularly challenging due to the downturn in Houston’s oil and gas economy and COVID. It has taught me how to be nimble, to never burn a bridge, and to listen to my clients’ needs as well as those of our employees, partners, and vendors.
Additionally, I recently completed a two-year term as President of the Board of Ronald McDonald House Houston (RMHH), a not-for-profit organization that provides a home away from home for families with critically ill children being treated in our Texas Medical Center. At capacity, RMHH serves over 150 families across four locations in our Texas Medical Center. RMHH has a $4.5MM operating budget, 45 employees, 600 volunteers, and a board of 35 members.
During my time as Board President, we never closed our doors and continued to serve our families amidst a global pandemic when our critical volunteers were not allowed in the Houses; we transitioned a retiring CEO and hired a new CEO; we secured two PPP loans and weathered a tropical storm as well as a Blackbaud security breach; we faced the racial tension that rose following George Floyd’s death in June 2020; and we were nimble in our advancement efforts by pivoting to virtual fundraising events. To say it was an eventful two years is an understatement, but I remain grateful for the opportunity as I grew so significantly as a person, personally and professionally.
I have also had the honor and privilege of serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Francis Episcopal School, my children’s preschool through 12th grade school. Helping guide our school, our students, and our community through 2020, COVID, and periods of virtual learning was a very growing experience. We continue to face uncertainty amidst COVID’s latest Delta variant, but we have come through the last year stronger and more prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Leading a board through very difficult and emotional events requires skill in listening, doing your homework, communicating directly (but with compassion), trusting others, being transparent, and not being afraid to make decisions. Serving on a board requires the same.
Of further interest
I am very passionate about Washington and Lee. I have a lot of energy, but I don’t commit to things unless I fundamentally believe in them and I can give them 100%. I fundamentally believe in Washington & Lee, and if elected to the Board of Trustees, I promise to give 100% in serving our alma mater as a representative of our alumni community.
We can’t let Washington and Lee become a commodity. So many schools are afraid of being unique or different. Everyone is so concerned about being politically correct for the sake of being politically correct that they’re missing the importance of honest conversations, broad ranges of thought, and characteristics that make a University stand out.
We are one of the oldest and finest academic institutions in the nation. We have an extremely rich history—parts of which we can celebrate and all of which we can learn from. Our motto is “Not Unmindful of the Future.” We have a $1.6 billion endowment and we’re privately held. We don’t have to yield to be like everyone else. Nor should we. Let’s be proud to focus on our history of honor, civility, liberal thought, and civil discourse. They’re the reasons I chose Washington and Lee.
Thank you very much for considering me as a nominee. It is a huge honor to be considered in any capacity, and I am grateful to Not Unmindful and our alumni community for caring so much about the health of our University and its future