Roslyn M. Brock '99
Leading the fight for equal opportunity and quality healthcare for all
By Amy Trang
As a student at Virginia Union University, Roslyn Brock '99 was an ambitious young leader in the NAACP, organizing rallies and mobilization drives.
An accounting professor took notice of Brock's dedication to the organization, and offered Brock a word of advice.
She gently reminded her that to be successful, Brock would have to be equally committed to her schoolwork and would have to balance her life inside and outside the classroom.
"That was the best advice she could have offered me," says Brock, who went on to graduate magna cum laude. "From that day forward, I was better about arranging my time and getting my priorities straight."
That advice has served Brock well throughout her life, as she balances and excels at her day job and her service work. Brock, vice president of advocacy and government relations at Bon Secours Health System Inc., was named chairman of the NAACP's board of directors in February. At 44, she is the youngest person ever to hold that position.
As chairman, Brock's greatest challenge is to develop a clear and compelling strategic policy agenda for the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Brock says it's a balancing act, as the organization focuses on the major issues of education, healthcare and economic opportunity while continuing its age-old mission of ensuring equal access and opportunity for all.
The NAACP has offered Brock many leadership opportunities throughout her tenure. She has served as vice chairman of the board and head of various committees. But through the years, Brock has seen members in her age group disengage from the organization to take care of their families and pursue their careers.
To reconnect 30- to 50-year-olds with the NAACP, Brock created the Leadership 500 Summit — an initiative to recruit, train and retain a new generation of civil-rights leaders. By identifying opportunities for people to use their expertise to help advance the NAACP — such as asking educators to help secure funding for public schools — the organization creates a value proposition for these members.
"It's something they can carve into their day," Brock says. "They can make a contribution and still be engaged with the organization they grew up with."
Brock is also passionate about her day job as the chief advocacy voice for Maryland-based Bon Secours Health System, a $2.9 billion nonprofit Catholic healthcare system.
"It's the best job because it gives me an opportunity to work in a faith-based environment, while advocating to ensure healthcare for all Americans," Brock says.
As a graduate of the Kellogg Executive MBA program, Brock often returns to the school to speak with students and tap the expertise of the school's thought leaders. She is partnering with professors to identify opportunities for entrepreneurship and wealth creation, and working with students to develop a marketing campaign to recruit and retain members for the NAACP.
"I'm hopeful that in our second century we recapture the vision of a multiracial, multiethnic organization that is particularly concerned about improving the plight of people of color," Brock says. "We have to proactively address the issues and needs of people in communities, especially those who feel they've been locked out of a prosperous society. We must develop and implement strategies that remove political, social and economic barriers that cause us to be divided from one another."
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Kellogg World alumni magazine.