Friday, January 14, 2011

Unusual career path works out for public relations specialist

Taroue W. Brooks, a 1987 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Gary, has nearly 20 years of proof that when opportunity knocks, it is best to open the door.

Brooks is public relations specialist and event planner for not-for-profit organizations and for a "who's who" of political, entertainment, cultural and corporate clients.

His self-taught expertise has earned him a longtime client in veteran film actor and activist Danny Glover and a resume full of fundraiser and social event planning, such as a recent Black Academy of Arts and Letters program featuring actress Ruby Dee.

Brooks' career came as a fluke; his original plan was to be a lawyer.

"I went to Indiana State University and Texas Southern University, but I did not finish," he said. "I began an internship with the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, and that led to a writing and research position for then-U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in 1994. My experience there led to two years as a production consultant for Black Entertainment Television."

He was with BET from 1995 to 1997 and worked on special projects for syndication, including "A Tribute to Black Music Legends" and a program for Robert Townsend.

But it wasn't until he did volunteer work for a not-for-profit organization that he realized his talent in public relations and event planning.

"Even though I volunteered, I was paid for my work because they were that impressed with what I did," he said.

That experience gave Brooks the ultimate opportunity in 1996, when he planned former President Bill Clinton's African American Inaugural Ball.

Four years later, Brooks was an event planner for then-Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore.

Brooks said he has learned over the years to be prepared always for opportunities.

"While I did not finish college, I do not advise young people to do as I did," he cautioned. "Get your degree and be open to where the path can take you.

"I took a risk 20-plus years ago and discovered God opened my eyes to my abilities. My job allows me to travel and work with a lot of people from all backgrounds. I work hard for every event I am asked to do, and I work hard for my clients."

His latest client is a fellow Gary native, mayoral candidate Lester Lowe.

"I am in charge of the event planning and fundraising for his campaign," he said. "I hope to do more things for Gary one day. Just because I no longer live there does not mean I've lost interest. I want to see Gary do great things."

View the original article here

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