Rhonda Staley-Brooks '95 (Child Development)
Staley-Brooks finds her calling, and her husband at Sac State
Rhonda Staley-Brooks received more than just a great education at Sac State.
“I got a great job and a husband at Sac State,” says Staley-Brooks, who was honored with a Distinguished Service Award by the Sac State Alumni Association in 2013.
Staley-Brooks landed a position as a caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento back in 1994 when she was a junior at Sac State. She is now the President and CEO of the non-profit organization which serves close to 400 children each year.
A job hotline at Sac State led to her initial job at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“Without that resource, who knows where I’d be today,” Staley-Brooks says.
The faculty at Sac State helped her formulate the vision for her career.
“I knew I wanted to work with children, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Staley-Brooks says. “I had professors in child development that didn’t pigeon-hole me into being a teacher. I didn’t want to teach, but I had flexibility and I was able to use my degree for other things.”
At Big Brother Big Sisters, Staley-Brooks is making a difference by providing children with positive role models.
“I appreciate the mission itself—to serve children from single-parent families with mentors,” Staley-Brooks says. “We all had mentors that helped us get to where we are today and I just feel like every child deserves a mentor—someone that can help them and guide them to be whoever they want to be when they grow up. That’s what keeps me at Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
The Sacramento community has recognized Staley-Brooks’ efforts as a champion for youth. The Sacramento Business Journal honored her with a “Women who Mean Business” award in 2012 and she was Sacramento Magazine’s CEO of the Year in 2006.
Staley-Brooks thoroughly enjoyed Greek life at Sac State as a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. She remains active in the Eta Alpha Sigma graduate chapter. A firm believer in life-long learning, Staley-Brooks continues to expand her knowledge and skills. She took part in the Nehemiah Leaders Program in 2010 and the Leadership California class last year. She is a founding member of the Sacramento Black CEO Network.
Staley-Brooks has enjoyed watching the Sac State campus blossom over the past two decades. She lived in the relatively cramped quarters of Sutter Hall, which has since been replaced by the expansive American River Courtyard.
“I can’t find my way around anymore,” she says. “I really enjoyed my time at Sac State. It was fun to come to school—it was hard work—but it was also fun.”