Brooke Penders, whose professional career has spanned public relations, corporate communications and philanthropy, program development, and political and nonprofit fundraising, has been named the University of Hartford’s executive director of Career Services. She will arrive on campus Oct. 1.
The vice president for advancement at East Hartford’s Goodwin College since 2012, Penders has been responsible for executing the college’s philanthropic vision. She has put her leadership and creativity to work in helping a number of local organizations create successful brand building, awareness, and fundraising campaigns, including The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Aetna Foundation, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity. Penders began her career serving in the legislative and campaign offices of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.
"It is essential at this time in higher education to re-envision the journey our students take in the exploration, discovery, and realization of their post-college careers and dreams," says University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward. “In this critical mission, Hartford is especially fortunate to have found an experienced and energetic new leader. Brooke's proven record of building partnerships and creating new coalitions is exactly what the University needs at this time to build our career education programs into a leading model for higher education. Connecting career services, student advising, community and corporate relationships, our new Pathways program, and our student life and academic components into a powerful new resource for our students is going to be challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun. Brooke is just the person to help us accomplish these goals."
In her new role at UHart, Penders will provide strategic leadership and direction to comprehensive career development programs that serve students and alumni, including career counseling, job placement, personal and professional development, and the cultivation of internal and external partnerships.
“As someone who values the power of partnership and connection, I’m honored to play a role in President Woodward’s dynamic vision for student success,” Penders says. “The synergies between community, career, and curriculum are undeniable; leveraging those synergies will help differentiate our students as they explore, and secure, career opportunities across the country and around the globe.”
Active in the community, Penders volunteers for Journey Home, an organization that develops innovative solutions to end homelessness in Connecticut. She serves on the board of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), and spends each Election Day driving seniors to the polls. Her interests include art, architecture, gardening, and saving historic structures.
A native of Iowa and graduate of the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Penders quips that she has spent the last 20 years in Connecticut convincing others that she has never driven a tractor. She currently resides with her family in Old Wethersfield.