Controller, Corporate Responsibility and Foundation
Wake up. (I know, it’s too early)
Walk out the door for 5:30 a.m. CrossFit with BCAA’s water mix to stay hydrated.
Back home to shower, make coffee and drink protein smoothie.
I’m working from home today. I turn on my computer and check emails before the first meeting of the day. I have had so many more meetings since I left public accounting. Some days I am also able to get in a quick podcast or a FB live episode.
Weekly Corporate Responsibility (CR) leadership team huddle. We discuss various topics that have come up over the week and check in on specific tasks. This meeting also typically includes answering questions and establishing guidance for the other CR staff, discussing organization updates that affect CR and determining if there are issues that need to be brought to the VP of CR.
Latin America monthly grant meeting. This meeting is a discussion with our global leaders to review grants and programs in their region. I have been intentional about joining calls with our global CR leads to help me gain direct, timely updates, and better track and analyze global giving budgets and forecasts.
Lunch (maybe). While working at home, the lines tend to be blurred. Sometimes I use the midday to eat at my computer and clear emails. Sometimes I attend some type of webinar hosted by an organization I follow (i.e. NABA, INCPAS, Urban League, Indiana Black Legislative Caucus). I am obsessed with webinars; they also provide good background noise while I’m home alone working.
Monthly one-on-one meeting with my finance leader. Even though my role in the corporate responsibility function reports directly to the VP of CR, I have a dotted-line relationship with the executive director for corporate finance. This helps keep me current with the organization’s finance practices, systems, etc.
Be intentional about establishing relationships. Having a community of other professionals to network with, learn from and share experiences with is key in personal development and career advancement.
With meetings out of the way, my goal for the rest of the day is to tackle some projects on my to-do list. As I’ve been transitioning into my new role, I’ve been digging into various corporate spending trackers, community development grant spreadsheets, forecast workbooks and Power BI modules.
Husband is home! We use this time to chat it up together and catch up. Sometimes I am more chatty than he is since I’m home alone during the day, but if I’m lucky I’ll get everything I want to say out before his afternoon nap. (I am personally opposed to taking naps.)
Several evenings during the week I have some type of meeting. Weekly on Tuesdays is Bible Study. Twice a month on Wednesdays are NABA meetings. Every other Thursday is another NABA meeting. The life of a servant leader!
Cook dinner. Sometimes this is earlier if I do not have a meeting, but usually dinner consists of a HelloFresh meal my husband and I cook together while listening to the news. If it’s a long day or we do not want to cook, one of us may just order DoorDash or run over to the Rusty Bucket for a quick bite!
TV time! We love, love, love TV time. Our favorite shows include Law and Order: SVU and Organized Crime, SWAT, Chicago PD and Fire, All Rise and anything similar. Because I have an affinity for maximizing time, I usually also pop open my laptop to answer emails or complete other tasks like writing my blogs or reading for the Policy Circle’s Civic Leaders Engagement Roadmap program (thepolicycircle.org/CLER).
Time to unplug and get workout clothes ready for tomorrow morning. Sometimes I do try to get in bed earlier, but it really depends on how the day goes.
ZeNai Brooks, CPA
Controller, Corporate Responsibility and Foundation
I’m responsible for financial oversight of charitable giving, reporting and data analytics.
MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT WHAT YOU DO:
Having direct community impact locally and globally. This role encompasses both my technical accounting experience and my passion and commitment to community engagement. It’s fulfilling to have a role reflective of my personal mission statement.
Auditor – Greenwalt CPAs, Crowe and EY; Senior Financial Reporting Analyst – Interactive Intelligence
University of Louisville
I’m currently on the INCPAS Board of Directors, serve as an Indiana CPA Educational Foundation trustee and am a CPA Advocate. I’ve previously served as a Scholars mentor and on the Diversity Advisory Council.
When I'm Not at Work
My husband, Darrell Brooks, and I are living the good life on the north side of Indy. We occasionally babysit my niece and nephews: Aiden, Aubrey, Bryson and Cameron.
None, definitely NOT an animal person
Watching TV and movies; doing anything sports-related: Spartan races, CrossFit, running, basketball and volleyball; visiting bourbon distilleries and wineries.
OTHER MEMBERSHIPS/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:
Director – National Association of Black Accountants; Director – Leadership Indianapolis; Member – The Exchange at Indianapolis Urban League; Pastor’s wife – New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church; Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board – Thomson Reuters; Policy Circle’s Civic Leaders Engagement program
Advice for Students Considering the Profession/Becoming a CPA
Be intentional about establishing relationships with others through membership associations like INCPAS, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), ALPFA, ASCEND, etc. Having a community of other professionals to network with, learn from and share experiences with is key in personal development and career advancement.
Advice for Young Pros Wanting to Advance in the Profession
Live life on your own terms and do not let anyone put you in a box.
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