Health Care

Not for profit, for people: CFVH Foundation Vice President shares about her experience navigating motherhood as a working professional

By Stephanie Meador, posted 2 weeks ago
Brooks shared that her favorite part of the role that she has now is working with donors and helping them take their philanthropic investment in health care and see it put to use. Photo provided by CFVH.

Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation Vice President Sabrina Brooks has held many different titles throughout her professional journey. From graduating college to working in the financial services industry to then switching gears to work in the nonprofit sector, all of these roles have allowed Brooks to grow and develop, but her role as a mother remains equally important in defining who she is and how she lives her life. 

Brooks has two children who are now grown and off living on their own, but her dedication to striking a balance between her work life and her role with her family was an act of service not only to her children but also to herself. 

Brooks left the financial services industry after her second son was born and was able to take some time to stay at home with her children, and though she “wouldn’t trade that time for anything” she shared she was “eager to get back into the workforce” as her children got a bit older. 

“In 2010, I had the opportunity to come to work for the foundation, but that continued to be a juggling act. They [the kids] were in school, lots of activities. I think one of the keys to being able to juggle both, was that first of all, I have an incredibly supportive spouse and my husband supported me and all of my career journeys and supported our family in incredible ways that really allowed me to also be a working mother and then it’s just the people you surround yourself with, other working mothers, supervisors who respect the fact that you also have a family as well as a career, so I’ve just been really fortunate,” remarked Brooks.

Brooks oversees a team of seven in her current leadership role at Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation. She is able to empathize with working mothers who are still in the phase of juggling young kids and a career, and she aims to show compassion as a supervisor.

“So now my children have both finished college and are in the professional work world themselves and I have a couple of folks on my team who are working mothers. And so now I find myself at a point in my career where I have the opportunity to mentor younger people…and really help them understand that yes, your career is important, and what you do here every day really makes a difference and matters, but you also need to make sure you’re putting your family first. So I encourage them to do that and try to be supportive as they go through those struggles with childcare and sick children and being present for their children’s activities. I tell them all the time, you’ll never get this time back, so go to the school play, go to the assembly, cheer for the sports teams, all the things that children are involved in, and I think that it can be done, you can do it but it helps if you have people around you who are supporting you in those journeys as well,” shared Brooks.

Brooks’ instincts as a mother translate well into her career and help her to be a better team member. 

“I think sometimes as mothers, we have a different level of compassion for people who are in need and people who are just in a tough place, because as mothers it doesn’t matter how perfect your situation is. There’s always struggles whether it’s a sick child or all the different phases that children go through and navigating those…there’s been several opportunities that I’ve had in working with nonprofits that I think being a mother has helped me be more effective and more appreciative of the services that those organizations provide,” Brooks explained.

The work the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation does ranges from small acts such as providing a child with a stuffed animal for comfort during a frightening procedure to larger projects such as leading capital campaigns to bring about new treatment centers and educational centers. 

“We fund things that make a difference at the hospital in terms of both patient care and access to care… really every place there’s a patient at Cape Fear Valley, we have a presence,” added Brooks. 

While her work with the foundation holds immense value and impacts the lives of many people, Brooks never forgets her duty to her family. 

“Regardless of how important and essential your professional role is, you need to always put your family first and put your children first. And sometimes that’s hard and it can be a juggling act. But at the end of the day, your first responsibility and your most important job is to raise your children to be productive adults,” remarked Brooks.

Being a mother is a rewarding though difficult job whether staying home with the kids full time or managing a career while caring for your children. Finding people and organizations that offer support can make all the difference. 

“I think Fayetteville has a lot of things going on in the nonprofit sector that support families in lots of different places. And I just would encourage people to look at what those resources are. I know when my kids were growing up, we would always try to find time to visit the library and go to the theater…I think all of those kinds of enrichment activities really help strengthen a community but I think it also helps working mothers to find opportunities to do things with their children,” shared Brooks.

While the days may be long, the years are short. From a rewarding career to a happy, loving home, mothers can have it all.

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