Author, entrepreneur, workplace trainer and leadership coach: Since graduating from Gettysburg College, Lawrese Brown ’10 has filled each of these roles over the past 13 years in an effort to empower others to be more confident and resilient.
Three years after graduating, she first worked as a program coordinator for New Jersey Needs You, a nonprofit organization dedicated to career readiness for first-generation college students. In 2014, while studying for a master’s degree in educational leadership, advocacy and policy from NYU Steinhardt, she founded Brown Coaching and Consulting LLC, which focuses on equipping high school and college students with the skills and knowledge needed to resolve conflict, share ideas and take ownership of the work.
At West Side High School in 2018, Brown authored and implemented a 30-hour soft skills curriculum for students. In addition, she developed a career exploration curriculum for first-year students in the Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Brookdale Community College in Middletown, New Jersey. While working with students, she realized that working professionals also needed career development to apply interpersonal skills at work, including clear communication with colleagues, authentic leadership styles as first-time managers, and the confidence to advocate for their career aspirations. So in 2018, she rebranded Brown Coaching and Consulting to C-Track Training, a career coaching consulting firm that offers on-the-job training for confident communication, self-advocacy, self-management, and managing others successfully.
Through C-Track Training, Brown provides training and coaching sessions to enhance the soft skills necessary for personal and professional development: leadership, decision-making, teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, confidence, adaptability, confidence, empathy, work ethic and yourself – motivation. She has also published several resource guides focused on communication competency and has contributed to and been quoted in several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Talent Management, and Inc.com.
The goal, Brown said, is to foster a workplace environment where every professional can say, “I know how to learn” and “I know this to get to the next level.” This is what I have to learn.”
“Everyone deserves a career experience that respects their interests and keeps them engaged and growing,” she said.
Looking back on her career trajectory, Brown credits her Gettysburg education with enabling her to acquire the communication and critical thinking skills necessary to transition from college to the professional world.
“I didn’t come to Gettysburg knowing what I wanted to do,” she said. “I took every introductory course you could imagine—in psychology, theater, philosophy, and political science.”
Her advisor, Africana Studies and History Prof. Scott Hancock, helped Brown identify her academic interests and strengths, which ultimately led to a self-designed major in Africana Studies and individualized studies in public relations and public policy.
The joint study and internship experience further shaped Brown’s ambitions for professional development. At Gettysburg, she interned in the Office of Communications and Marketing and the Community Service Center, and also developed leadership skills through her undergraduate fellowship at the Eisenhower Institute. An internship with Eric Handler ’86, vice president of communications for the YES Network, provided additional learning through an experience outside the classroom.
Reflecting on her liberal arts and sciences education at Gettysburg College, Brown believes the exposure Gettysburg students receive from encountering new ideas and diverse perspectives in academic and co-curricular settings is essential to career success.
“You expand your knowledge, and the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to connect with people,” she said. “Keep your mind open to the fact that people think differently and have different interests and areas of expertise than you.”
Brown advises Gettysburg students to be intentional about developing communication, leadership and self-advocacy skills and putting those skills into practice.
“Sometimes that involves taking a risk and chasing things that aren’t working for you,” she explained. “I had moments where I didn’t even meet my expectations as a student, but you only learn by doing. Gettysburg does a great job of offering people opportunities to do, and doing is important. You can test things. You get feedback. You understand the consequences of the things you do or don’t do. This is what I consider to be a key part of the continuing education that Gettysburg College offers.”
Discover how Gettysburg College empowers students to build lives of meaning and impact.
By Michael Viskocil
Photo courtesy of Lawrese Brown ’10