The Square Pizza podcast focuses on the intersection of education, innovation, and diversity. We host and interview leaders doing incredible work around the country to ensure all students have access to an equitable education. The Square Pizza podcast is hosted by SchermCo, a social-impact implementation firm that offers strategic implementation and project management services to schools and education-focused organizations across the country.
Thanks for joining for another episode of the #SquarePizzaPod. We’re joined by Carrie Cook, the Founding ED of GreenLight Fund Charlotte. At Greenlight Carrie is incubating and scaling innovative organizations with proven impact to address unmet community needs—we’ll get into what that looks like for the Charlotte in the episode.
We also talk through how Carrie is taking on Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis one real estate project at a time and some of the insights she’s gleaned as she’s grown this passion project.
Carrie B. Cook is the Founding Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Charlotte. In her role as founding ED, Carrie brings together stakeholders from philanthropy, nonprofits, private sector, government and community leaders to invest in solutions and drive measurable results that improve opportunity and mobility for low-income Charlotteans. She will incubate and scale innovative organizations with proven impact to address unmet community needs.
Carrie previously worked for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, as the VP of Talent Development and Economic Growth. While at the chamber, she helped lead the campaign to pass the largest school bond in Mecklenburg County history – a nearly billion-dollar campaign for 29 high need public school projects. Carrie’s career also includes roles with the United States Senate, and AmeriCorp as a Public Ally Fellow.
Driven by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Carrie set out on a journey to visit every continent with her Mom. They did just that in 2017 after returning from Antarctica, and exploring more than 25 countries around the world over a decade. She believes these travel experiences connecting with people, ideas and cultures around the world shape her ability to live on purpose and do meaningful work.
Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Public Administration degree with a focus on Education Policy and Economic Development from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a graduate of the Business Management for Nonprofit Leaders program at Wake Forest University, School of Business.
Carrie is committed to empowering people and solving complex problems both locally and globally. In 2011 Carrie received the Young Public Administrator of the Year Award from the National Forum of Black Public Administrators, and in 2012 she was selected as one of nine leaders under 30 in Charlotte for the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community. Carrie was recognized as the 2013 Emerging Leader Woman of Achievement by the YWCA Central Carolinas for her commitment to empowering women, eliminating racism and promoting social justice. The United Negro College Fund recognized Carrie with their inaugural Maya Angelou Young Leader Award in 2016 and in 2018 she received the Woman of the Year Award from the Mecklenburg Times.
A passionate, experienced social entrepreneur, Carrie founded EmpowHERment, Inc. in 2012 – a nonprofit organization committed to mentorship, talent development and advocacy for girls and women.
Carrie is an active member of several organizations and boards including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Junior League of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board. Carrie is grateful to live, serve, and play in her hometown of Charlotte, NC. She credits her faith, family, community, and sense of humor for an incredible life journey.