The Back Story interview: Brooke Pannell

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The Back Story interview: Brooke Pannell
In this edition of The Back Story interview we sit down with Brooke Pannell, one of the team in the US.

The Back Story monthly interview features ADAPTOVATE employees from around the world. Each month we ask them 10 questions. Our team is the greatest asset we have, and it’s a privilege to share just a little bit more about who they are.

This month we are joined in conversation by Brooke Pannell, a consultant with our US team.


First up – how long have you worked with us? 

Almost two years! Time flies when you’re having fun! Although 2020 was not fun. 

Why did you join us?  Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction? 

Brooke, ‘planting’ herself in a chair.

I was looking for a couple things when I decided to make the leap to leave the wonderful organization that is ALSAC/St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.  

First, I wanted a new challenge in my career. I’d been leading agile adoption in tech organizations since college, but I was ready to begin leading agile at a more holistic, enterprise-wide level.  

Second, I wanted to continue being a part of a company with a mission I supported. One of the many reasons I signed with ADAPTOVATE was because of a conversation I had in my interview with Doug Ross, one of the founders of our company. During my interview, Doug told me why he started ADAPTOVATE, and while it’s too deep to share here, in summary, he started the company to help people be prepared for the future of work. I knew I could get behind a leader who embodies passion and authenticity when it comes to helping others navigate the seismic technological shifts that will affect the workforce.  

How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently? 

So many things come to mind, but in all reality, great management is the reason I’m here. The experience I’ve gained working with all levels of the organization from C-suite to directly with customers has been invaluable in my growth and understanding of agile and business. My managers have empowered me every step of the way, and I am grateful for that. I recently went back to a previous manager of mine and told him “Thanks for taking a chance on me when I was just a twerpy college student.” I meant it.  

The only thing I would have done differently: Switch to a STEM degree in college  

How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life –   Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you? 

If you’re familiar with the “iron triangle,” my triangle would consist of work, school, and my social life. If you were to move around inside the triangle, you’d get closer to one or two points, but move father away from other points. That’s my life right now. If I have a good week at work and school, my social life will take a hit. If I’m doing too many wine bars with friends or heads-down on work, my homework won’t get done.  

I think acceptance that I can’t “have it all” was important to my mental health. Balance is very important to me, but let’s be real here, some weeks are better than others. A lot better than others.  

With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up?   Organised or chaos? Any top tips? 

I’m one of the few people who does not like working from home. My home office setup is mostly for homework now, so I try to keep it chill. There’s candles, an Alexa for classical music, and a whole dog-sized couch just for my dog, Brewer, to hang out with me as I desperately try not to cry over my accounting homework.   

Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients?    What do you recommend on your latest playlist? 

I’m a big fan of the “crackling fireplace” video on YouTube while silent writing is happening. Very cozy. 

How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future? 

Oh man I could write an entire essay on this. The future of tech and the continual integration of humanity and technology is such a fascinating subject to me. My most controversial opinion is that eventually, after we’ve integrated AI into our infrastructure (like transport, legal system, medical system) AI will evolve beyond our control, realize that humans are detrimental, and make the ultimate decision to eradicate us. I realize this sounds nutty and probably has a ton of technical reasons why it can’t happen, but hey- I did say it was a controversial opinion.  

What does success mean to you personally? 

Success for me would be financial independence so that I don’t have to work someday. I would love to devote my time to passion projects, volunteering, and traveling at some point in my life. Not now, but later on, when I’m ready for a slower pace.  

Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give? 

The braces and headgear is temporary! Just kidding. I would tell 10 yr old me to trust myself, my opinions, my gut instincts. I think that’s what a lot of little girls who grew up in my time needed to hear.  

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