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Veteran D.C. business woman receives lifetime achievement award, induction into Minority Business Enterprise Hall of Fame - The Afro (Published January 4, 2023)

The Capital Region Minority Supplier Diversity Council (CRMSDC) recently inducted Sheila Brooks, founder and owner of D.C.-based SRB Communications, into the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Hall of Fame during the 50th anniversary of its Leaders & Legends Ceremony.  

The organization also awarded Brooks with a lifetime achievement award.

“I believe that being inducted into the Minority Business Enterprise Hall of Fame and being given a lifetime achievement award from the Capital Region Minority Supplier Diversity Council was one of the best recognitions I could ever have,” said Brooks. “It helped to validate all of those long hard years that I worked in the newsroom and that I made the right decision in advancing my career. It reinforced to me that I continue, after being in business for 32 years following my newsroom experiences, to contribute to a greater purpose in minority business.”

Brooks, a former TV news reporter, established SRB Communications in 1990. The communications firm initially started out as a production company, but in 2007 when the Great Recession hit and the digital revolution transformed the media landscape, Brooks pivoted to creating marketing and advertising campaigns for utility companies. 

Today, SRB Communications holds contracts with every utility company on the east coast, except for New York, in addition to managing advertising and marketing for collegiate, government and public health institutions. 

Brooks’ clients include Pepco Holdings, Delmarva Power, Washington Gas and Baltimore Gas and Electric, and she largely focuses on reaching diverse communities with her public relations campaigns. 

A graduate of the University of Washington, Brooks began her career in journalism. She worked for various TV news stations, including PBS and Fox 5. Early in her career, she became the first Black anchor at a CBS-affiliate news station in Spokane, Wash.

After helping Fox 5 launch its morning news show, Brooks was ready to transition into entrepreneurship.

“I’d always dreamed of starting my own business and being in my own business, and I just felt at that time, in the early 90s, I had reached the glass ceiling. I had moved from on the air to management when I got here. I could see my managers not being promoted, and here I am in a top 10 market at a top station with a top network,”said Brooks. “I decided that I could do better on my own. Every station in town offered me a job, and I said, ‘No, I’m going to go into business, and I am going to make this work,’ and I have never looked back.” 

Raised by a single mother in a poor Kansas City, Mo. neighborhood, Brooks said she learned resilience and determination at a young age. 

Since becoming a business owner, she has made it her lifelong mission to support other Black entrepreneurs regardless of their industry. She attributes her success over the years to her commitment to nurturing others and advised that aspiring entrepreneurs stay connected to their faith, family and community while growing their businesses. 

“You have to learn how to accept the outcomes of situations and consider them to be a stepping stone in your career or business’ path. I always say to young entrepreneurs, be vigilant in your work,” said Brooks. “Your commitment to helping others should be as strong as your commitment is to succeed because I always believe you get back what you give.”


The Afro feature written by Megan Sayles (January 4, 2023)

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