Long meetings and tough negotiations don't bother Linda Thomas Brooks. She trains for them.
'I've run marathons for four hours, and I climbed a mountain for 12 hours,' she says. 'So you just give me a long meeting; I can handle it.'
Brooks, senior vice president and group director at General Motors Mediaworks, is a self-professed exercise fanatic. She says no executive's life should be so cluttered that upkeep of the body is ignored.
Exercise is more than a nice thing to do for yourself, Brooks believes. She sees it as a tool for building the strength and stamina it takes to handle a demanding career and busy home life.
Not just weekends
Brooks is no weekend warrior. She's up at 5 a.m. and runs about four times a week for 45 minutes. She also works out with weights at a gym a few times a week.
Brooks, 35, is second in command in the Warren, Mich., office of GM Mediaworks, the subsidiary of Campbell-Ewald Advertising that does all media buys for General Motors. Warren negotiates all GM print and interactive buys. Brooks is involved in much of the negotiations, dealing with scores of media representatives and the needs of 18 employees.
'We all work hard here,' she says. 'This is a demanding job. Plus there are other parts of my life. So working out helps me both mentally and spiritually.'
Runs in the family
Brooks comes from a physically active family. She and her husband work out together. And Brooks - along with her mother, father and sister - ran a marathon in Washington, D.C., in 1993.
She is slim and serious about keeping fit. 'I think it has helped me immensely,' she says of her dedication to exercise. 'I have more energy when I get to work, and having that stamina makes a big difference. By physically having the strength, I can keep my head in the game.'
For her, the intensity of physical activity is not important. 'I'm not trying to turn people into marathoners,' she insists. 'Just do something, and leave the crazies like me to do the marathons.'