Brook Dickison believes the most powerful tool that leaders wield is their example.
Check out her example:
Faculty member at Angelo State University. Doctoral student at Texas Tech. Sterling City Council member. Board member for numerous nonprofits, including the United Way and the Leadership San Angelo Alumni Association. And mother to two active youngsters.
“It definitely takes a delicate balance,” Dickison said of her commitments. “I look to see, where can I help the most? Where is my service going to be a better fit – for me and for the organization? If it’s something I feel I can contribute to, then I definitely take it on.”
Dickison learned responsibility and the value of hard work early, raising show lambs and excelling in 4-H and FFA. Today, her children are doing the same, spending abundant amounts of time in a barn with their parents and their show animals.
“It instills a lot of neat qualities I don’t think you can get anywhere else,” Dickison said. “It’s a family event. We are all in it together. My kids absolutely love it.”
Dickison intended to work in agriculture after earning her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in agriculture leadership and development. “God had a different plan,” she said. She earned her master’s degree in education from ASU after her husband joined the faculty there.
Today she teaches teachers as an online graduate instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. When she began considering pursuit of her doctorate degree in higher education, her children worried whether she could do it.
“I wanted to show I could, that I was able,” she said. “They think it’s cool their mom is doing homework at the same time they are. And they see that education is continuous. That’s something my husband and I really want to instill in them.”
She was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Sterling City Council shortly after the Dickisons moved to town. Calling herself a “policy nerd,” Dickison said she has enjoyed tackling issues ranging from street improvements to codes aiming to improve properties.
“You just have to learn to have a thick skin and be able to listen more than talk, and to be able to act upon things you tell them you will act upon,” she said of political service.
In all of her experiences, Dickison said she doesn’t shy away from the risk of failure. At the same time, she feels an obligation to help others learn from those mistakes so they don’t repeat them. It’s a life lesson from her favorite college professor that has stuck with her.
“Spend as much time as you can getting to know the organizations you want to be a part of,” she advised, “and then throw your entire self into it. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to learn from them, and that organization is going to benefit. You’re going to benefit. Whether the impact is little or big, you don’t know until you do it.”