Her love of sports and people bring her to UTSA
No one would have expected, not even Brooke Lanie, manager of donor relations, engagement and communications for UTSA Athletic Development, that a San Antonio native pursuing her doctorate in public policy and political economy at UT Dallas would find her way back to her hometown to accept an unpaid internship with UTSA Athletic Development. It’s a completely different career path that veered from her childhood dream of becoming a lobbyist or attorney.
“I love sports and people,” says Lanie. “So when my dad, who is a donor to UTSA, told me they had an internship, I was intrigued and wanted to see where all the money went and how it is used to benefit the student athletes.” Taking a leap of faith, she landed her dream job as manager. She has the privilege of seeing the direct impact the money has, not only on the student, but on the community as well.
Having spent seven years furthering her education, Lanie is a testimony to other women to be optimistic, a leader, and to push for what they want. “I’m one of those people who is literally in school forever,” she says. “I want my character to speak through my reputation.”
While achieving a degree in political science/pre-law with minors in English and Spanish at Louisiana Tech University, Lanie also played Division I soccer. She then went to Oklahoma State University to pursue her master’s in international studies: human society, education and development.
“I wrote my thesis on Argentina’s economy since the 1980s and the social/political/economic status of the country through different presidencies,” she says. “I stayed in Argentina and traveled around with an international agriculture group from Oklahoma State, then stayed on my own to research for my paper.”
After a volcanic eruption occurred next door in Chile, Lanie was forced to take a 24-hour microbus to Buenos Aires and was stuck in the city until she was able to catch a flight out.
“After coming back home, I decided to pursue my doctorate at UT Dallas, but after getting an internship with UTSA Athletic Development, I decided to postpone the doctorate and take a job with UTSA — right timing, I suppose,” she explains.
Coming from a family of three half sisters and a twin sister, Lanie was always the person to confide in and rely on. “They gave me the nickname Dear Abby,” she says. As an avid believer in “trying to help others,” Lanie is a co-partner in a new initiative with athletic director Lynn Hickey and career counselor Stefanie Cisneros, to aid mentoring to women student athletes with the help of prominent and influential women in the surrounding community. The program, called WINGS, stands for Women Inspiring and Nurturing Greatness in Student-Athletes.
“There are two programs we have come across that are similar, one at Auburn as well as California State University Bakersfield (CSUB),” says Lanie. “We are wanting to create an environment for women athletes to be prepared after they leave UTSA, and hopefully this will be the catalyst to do so.”
You won’t find Lanie just organizing events for UTSA Athletics or orchestrating her talents on the soccer field. She might be practicing her football skills for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association inaugural Blonde vs. Brunette Flag Football Game this spring to be sponsored by the San Antonio & South Texas chapter at STAR’s Toyota Field. “My father’s mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease,” she says. Named co-chair for the fundraising committee this year, she has goals to raise awareness and money for the organization that she holds dear to her heart.
Lanie continues to give back to the community in every possible way. She offers her mentoring and nurturing abilities to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization as a Big Sister.
“I want to be there for someone who is going through many things I went through as a child and going through life stages and changes,” says Lanie. “I had great role models and mentors growing up, but there is nothing like having one-on-one time with someone.”
Why she’s a role model: With seven years of education under her belt and childhood dreams of becoming an attorney, she decided to take a leap of faith and accept an unpaid internship at UTSA in a completely different field, postponing her doctorate. She is using her love for sports and people to mentor and make a difference in the lives of women student athletes at UTSA, as well as impact her community any way she can.
Her role models: UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey for their charisma and passion in everything they do. “I admire how they speak to women who live in a man’s world.”
Words or phrases she lives by: The Hebrew word chazaq, which means the strongest form of courage. The Bible verse “Her mouth speaks from that which fills her heart,” Luke 6:45. Also, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated” (Oscar Wilde). “I have so many; I like quotes way too much.”
Last book read or favorite book: The last book she read was Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Her favorite book is Immanual Kant’s Perpetual Peace or anything by Donald Miller.
Favorite band: ZZ Ward is her favorite singer; her style is jazz/blues/pop.
Favorite movie: The 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn. “I love anything with Audrey Hepburn. She is also a role model of mine for her philanthropy.”
Favorite pastime in San Antonio: Playing co-ed soccer. “I actually played Division I soccer. I play four times a week now with my friends; it’s not so much competitive as it is relaxing.”
Where she grew up: “Actually here in San Antonio. I spent seven years furthering my education in different schools, and I moved back here last December.”
Most memorable moment as a youth: Not so much a “good” memorable moment, but the most influential was when her grandfather passed away. “I was eating cereal with my twin sister, Whitney, watching Saturday morning cartoons. My dad came in and told us he passed, and my first reaction was to laugh because I thought he was joking. I didn’t think this could happen to such a strong person like my grandfather. It is one of those times where you can remember every little detail; it just stays with you.”
Describe a personal goal: “To continue to be a person anyone can confide in; I enjoy trying to help others. I also want to strive to have the best character I can have; I want it to speak through my reputation.”
Describe a professional goal: “To continue to climb the ladder, and whatever I’m doing, I want to make a difference in the community.”
By Kristen Mears
Photography by Elizabeth Warburton