Trust yourself to make the right trade-offs with Brooke Rosolino

10 Minute Read

Brooke is an organizational design consultant, executive coach, and facilitator. She's the owner of n'goodCompany. She‌ works with organizations to co-create scalable structures through hiring and developing high-performance teams, and building operating systems that bring core values from the whiteboard to human expression. Experienced in working inside and alongside brands such as Lululemon and Magnolia in a high-growth stage. Proficient in working with creative visionaries, helping them excel in an operational world.

Brooke currently lives in Waco, TX, with her husband and two boys.

Tell us a little bit about what you do, how your career journey has been, maybe your family or what you're passionate about.

I’m Brooke Rosolino. I live in Texas and have two boys, who are nine and six, and they keep me on my toes. I am currently an organizational development consultant who leans really heavily into coaching and leadership development. I talk through the future of work often and support founder-led organizations in building the structure needed to see their visions come to life. 

I got my start at Lululemon, and it's why I do what I do today. I was fortunate to help prepare the market in Nashville, Tennessee, to open the first Lululemon store. I think when we opened our first store, there were only 30-something stores in the U.S., so this was really early on, and it's really where I experienced a very viral, growing company that was just blowing up and in its early stages. 

I fell in love with the chaos and beauty of a fast-growing company. I also loved finding out what was needed to build the structure without losing the magic. A lot of times, when companies are growing, they can build too much structure, and the magic goes away, so that's always my focus— how can we bring a little more organization and structure to the chaos but also keep the magic?

It was such an impactful time in my life. We would have people leave their jobs to come work on our floor because they just wanted to work at a place that was meaningful, where they could make an impact, and that felt good to be at. 

It helped me understand how to set up structure and culture in a business and the impact that it can have, not just when you're at work but on the whole person. So that's really what I do now. 

When it comes to my journey as a mother, specifically, I had my first child a little over four years into working. I worked all the time, but it never felt like a job. It's a Canadian-based company, so we actually got six months of maternity leave. It wasn't all paid, but I had the time and the space to take it, and I took the whole thing. 

And when I was changing my baby at that time, I was talking to him like, what are you going to be when you grow up? They'd asked me to move to Atlanta to take on a bigger area community role. And I just realized from talking to my child that I need to make a shift as a mother now. 

I'd already made some decisions not to move and take on a role because I wanted to be home and have flexibility with my child, but that moment with my child led me onto my entrepreneurial journey of building a company.

How did you go about finding your groove with wanting to be home with your kids, wanting to be an entrepreneur, and having this passion for helping companies?

I think the initial shift that I made as a mother was that I didn't want to be traveling a lot with a little kid. My husband was in academics at that point and wasn't as flexible. I was like, I can't really just be gone. He can't manage it—which says nothing about his aptitude. It's just real. It was just real for us at the time. 

Being an entrepreneur, it's hard to shut down when you are the sole generator of and responsible for all growth or money you're bringing in. I don't show up, and I don’t get paid. But I decided to work four days per week. That was really important to me—to try to get all the work done in four days and then have off on Fridays. 

So that's something that, as a mom, I created for myself that felt really important. And when they were little, I tried to be done around 3:30, at least two or three days a week, because I found that for me, it was almost like there was this magnet of, I'm ready at three, I need to go, my body is moving toward them. 

As they've aged, I would say really since 2020, I moved into a new phase of my career where I’m working with companies that aren't local. So, right now, we're in Waco, Texas, and I don't have a client here. They're all over. I do travel at least once a month. And, you know, it's funny, I'm gone for two to three days at a time, and it works for my family. 

My husband has a flexible job, and I do a lot of work to prepare them. I have all the boys' clothes laid out, and they get hot lunch at school, which is exciting when mommy's out of town and things like that. 

I'm a huge believer that if I'm really doing what I believe is there for me to do, and I'm living with wisdom and truth and seeking guidance, my family life will be integrated into that. To me, there's really no separation between life and work. And if a job didn't work, I would not be doing it, period. 

I would not work for a big corporation if they said, " Hey, you're going to need to be here from nine to five, be gone maybe two weeks, whatever that is." It would just be a hard no. And so I do have really strong boundaries, but I've also created a life around what I want for my kids. 

And there are downsides to that. There is stress. I'm solely responsible, like I mentioned, for making sure the bills are paid, and it's hard for me to turn off, but the beautiful thing is I can take two weeks off at Christmas and just take my kids to New York, and I've built clients that are supportive of that, and I've built a work life that's supportive of that. 

So it is a long-winded answer, but I think the core thing is it has shifted and changed over the years with the kids, but the thing that has always been most important to me that's made it work is flexibility. Even if I am gone and traveling, I still have really a lot of control over how much and when I can be there for my family and support them.

And I understand that is a privilege. That is a privileged perspective. I just want to acknowledge that, too.

How can companies build those structures early on? I'm a founder, and we're thinking about this long-term plan to support parents. Is it having a flexible schedule? What can we do to give everyone those opportunities?

I do empathize. Some of the companies I work with are 15 to 20 people, some are 400, so it varies. But in smaller companies, you really can only do so much. The job is the job. And so — it's not harsh, but I think it's real—some jobs aren't that flexible.

In some jobs, you just need to be there five days a week. I work with many interior designers, and doing that remotely is hard. 

I think that companies can do what they can do. Also, I’ve found that sometimes employees lack the courage to do what they need to do and be where they want to be. 

I think it's a both and. I don't think it should all rely on the companies. Where I think that companies can have integrity and fully support women is by saying what realistically they are able to do, from a financial standpoint and capacity standpoint, for women as they prepare for maternity leave and when they come back. And this is the amount of grace and room that we have to give. 

And I think that's the most important conversation because that's going to vary depending on somebody's position and then depending on the company. 

There are companies where I will push and say, okay, what if they were flexible for the first month? What if they came in and they left at three? I still think that the important thing is to look at all the myriad of possibilities before you get strict about the exact things you need.

I don't know how that answer lands with you. I'm really curious.

I actually love that because it's realistic. Sometimes, I think, especially when we're dealing with so many people in my circle who work for tech companies and work remotely and have all of these benefits, it's not always realistic for every company to give everything. And we can't judge companies that don't have those opportunities to be as flexible. That's also a place of privilege—the fact that your company works that way.

Totally agreed. 

I've made a lot of personal sacrifices to do what my family needed. There were financial sacrifices. It's not been easy at all. I had two really, really difficult years. 

I needed to own that, though. It wasn't anybody else's fault. That was a choice and decision I made. I prefer to have flexibility with my children and maybe not have a stable job. It's not going to feel perfect and ideal all the time, but we just need to be really honest with what we want. 

Everything's a trade-off. 

So, what is the trade-off that we need and are willing to make at this time? Sometimes, it is to stay at that job that's inflexible because your family does need that provision, and that's where you're just committed to finding the best place for your child to be when they aren’t with you. And sometimes, it is leaving that job and having a little less security for a season.

How do you manage the mental load of motherhood combined with the weight of being the primary breadwinner for the household?

You know, some days, I just would love to be a librarian. To be honest, it’s a daily practice. It doesn't feel hard all the time. It does feel hard sometimes. I remind myself that anxiety is not wrong or bad. It's just part of being a human. 

I was on a plane, feeling the weight of this and honestly just praying. I heard back that this is what responsibility feels like without faith and trust.

In that moment, I realized that I have to really hold responsibility with faith and trust to be able to hold it well. So that's what I do. 

If you're a career-driven woman who also wants a family, are there certain points in your career that are better than others to have a baby?

I go back to trade-offs. That's something that every individual really needs to understand. 

There is no “nothing changes” option. When you have a child, things change. Your desires are going to change. Your capacity will change.  

I had the thought the other day of, like, man, I would probably be a bit farther along if I wasn't always cleaning the house or with the kids so much on spring break and Christmas break and whenever.  

Because I'm flexible and I'm the main doer in our house, I don't work as much. I just accept that. It is what it is. So I think it's up to the individual. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to understanding the trade-offs and really having the trust in yourself that—even though it may not feel 100% good all the time—you made the best trade-off for right now.

Let's say you're a mom who took a break to focus on raising your kids and is getting ready to return to the workforce. Where do you even start?

Yeah, that's a great question. And I took a sabbatical after I had my second from like 2018 to 2020. I did some random stuff, but I had hit a wall emotionally. I couldn’t do my job. I didn’t have the emotional capacity. 

My job requires a lot of energy, and that was very hard. But when I felt like I was in a place where I could fully contribute the way I wanted to, I started having conversations and sharing my goals. It was very organic. I found opportunities that way.

I think even taking there is some beauty in taking a two-year or three-year break. You can provide and contribute a free perspective from somebody who hasn't had a break. I think we have to see it as an advantage.

If people are in the middle of a break, one thing I would encourage you to do is stay up to date with your skillset or your area of expertise. I researched all the time. I learned. I took a break from working full-time, but I wasn't taking a break from growing as an individual and learning things in my field. So that would be just an encouragement I have for people who have taken a break—even though somebody's not paying you, I would still just keep learning as much as you can.

What would you say are some of the strengths that moms who are returning to the workforce bring to the table?

I would say they likely have resilience and groundedness and are more settled. They're probably not going to want to be switching places all the time. I think the maturity that comes with parenting is a big benefit.

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