Dr. Brown has been the President of SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology, and CEO of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, in New York City since 1998. She has served on numerous corporate boards, including the Boards of Directors of Neuberger Berman, and the Paxar Corporation, and is currently on the boards of USEC, Inc. and the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.
Dr. Brown served as a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York from 1994 to 1998. She is now Professor Emerita.
During David Dinkins' term as New York City mayor, Dr. Brown served as New York City deputy mayor for public and community affairs (1993–94).
Dr. Brown was appointed Dean of Urban Affairs at Bernard Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY) in 1983 and held the position until 1987. She coordinated the Urban Summit of Big City Mayors during her tenure and was appointed acting President of the college in 1990 (Brotherton, Phaedra, "FIT to be President" Black Enterprise, July 1999).