Brooke Fitzgerald: 2013 Forty Under 40 Honoree

Brooke Fitzgerald


Brooke Fitzgerald

Top Chickadee, owner

The Early Bird

Age: 32


Although Brooke Fitzgerald has plenty on her plate as top chickadee and owner of The Early Bird in downtown Cedar Rapids, she makes sure she finds the time to be active in the community.

“I make the time,” she said. “I have always wanted to be involved in the community. I’m on a bunch of different boards; I like the diversity.”

She serves on the board of directors for Young Parents Network, Indian Creek Nature Center and Murphy Memorial Charity Golf Tournament in her hometown Vinton. She is also a member of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Daybreak Rotary and Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance Innovative Council.

“It is apparent that Brooke is a busy individual, yet she always has time to devote to advance and grow organizations within the community,” John Myers, Indian Creek Nature Center’s executive director, stated in his nomination of Ms. Fitzgerald. “If every nonprofit had a Brooke, we would not have to worry about funding, marketing or strategic growth.”

Ms. Fitzgerald began her career as culinary manager at the Olive Garden in Coralville. She worked at Wells Fargo in commercial banking and real estate for eight years before opening The Early Bird in November 2011 with her brother, Aaron Murphy.

“I combined my culinary and business experience,” she said. “Banking taught me a lot of things about running a business.”

Business in downtown Cedar Rapids is steady and she would eventually like to open a second location on the southwest side.

“The first year, you’re learning a lot,” she said. “The second year is about doing things right. We have a good flow right now.”

The Vinton native has no intention of moving her business or family from Cedar Rapids.

“I love Cedar Rapids; I can’t see myself anywhere else,” she said. “It’s a big city, but feels like a small town. You don’t know everybody, but you know enough. It’s easy to get involved.”

She received a bachelor of arts degree in business management from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. She lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband, Andrew, and son, Connor.


-Angela Holmes