Brooke Carroll, Owner of Essex’s Lark Fine Foods, Visits with APH

Life is a long, winding road and sometimes it leads you right to… a cookie factory! And for Brooke Carroll, life did just that. APH Women in Leadership Speaker Series welcomed Brooke to campus to speak with our students about her sweet success of becoming the owner of Lark Fine Foods in Essex, MA.

Members of the APH Women in Business Club, Molly B ‘22 and Sydney W ‘22, moderated the event with prepared questions for Carroll. The first question was to share her story of resilience at being a female business-owner and diving into the world of cookies with no prior baking experience! 

Carroll learned early on that hard work will always pay off. At a young age, she began working 40-hour shifts at her local ice cream shop. “I could work anyone under the table!” she remembers. 

After graduating college, Carroll began her career as a hedge fund executive. The finance world was fast-paced, rewarding, and eye-opening. As a woman, Caroll endured the shockingly unequal pay she received apart from her male colleagues–despite putting in the equal amount of work. She then realized she needed to make a change. 

When learning about a cookie company that was up for sale, Caroll decided to brave a new world. She left hedge funds behind to become the owner of Lark Fine Foods with her husband. Founded in 2008, Lark Fine Foods is a 100% women-owned and operated specialty foods company located north of Boston in historic Essex, Massachusetts. They offer a distinctive line of baked goods and specialty items inspired by “grown-up” consumers with sophisticated tastes. 

Carroll learned once more that hard work indeed pays off. Becoming a small-business owner had many successes and learning curves. But through it all, she kept working and pushing herself to pursue this new dream. 

Brooke Carroll’s words of advice to our students included remaining true to who they are, always to advocate for themselves, and to never walk away from their goals.