Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Take Five: Renee Cunningham (Detroit)

Renee and I were both part of the BDPA 'kitchen cabinet' of Diane Davis back in the early 1990s [NOTE: Renee and Diane are shown in the photo down below]. We were both officers during the chapter's vibrant hey-day. I moved away from Detroit in mid-1990s and Renee took over as the BDPA Detroit chapter president in 1995-1996. Renee is now a CIO for a Black-owned firm in Detroit.

She was kind enough to participate in our Take Five Interview Series.

  1. How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - BDPA came to my attention from one of my professors I was earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Science. A group of students were asked to attend the monthly meeting. After hearing the dynamic speakers and how welcoming, it felt to be among my peers. I decided to become part of the organization. I got involved with BDPA because I was making a career change. I believe that I needed to network with people in the industry I was pursuing and if I came across a problem I had a place to turn too.
  2. What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - One of the most rewarding aspects of working with BDPA was the long term relationships I have built during my association with the organization. Another aspect was an opportunity to build upon my interpersonal, management and leadership skills. I found that the amount of influence or power a manager maintains is one way to categorize management styles.

    Still another aspect was that greater collaboration was a must because it improves coordination. Management of a chapter had to be focused on outputs, process interfaces, and clear rules of engagement. In order to govern a chapter the president needed strong working relationships to be successful; eccentric, ego-driven personalities will be an expensive luxury that few can afford.

    The next aspect that was rewarding was preparing the members of the chapter that the old school managers and executives will retire early or will be forced to bring new mindsets to the knowledge worker environment.

    Another aspect was working with the students of the high school computer competition and watching when the light bulbs go off in their heads that means an awakening has transpired.
  3. Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - One recent defining moment was when I got my dissertation proposal approved and I can officially say I am a doctoral candidate.
  4. Who is your hero and why? - My hero was my grandmother. Growing up I watch how hard she worked to make a life for herself and the family. In addition, how she would never give up if she had a task to complete. She gave me the strength to achieve my dreams and that the sky was the limit.
  5. Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - One piece of advice is if we do not take care of ourselves who will?

My greatest memories of Renee come from the annual ski trips that our chapter used to take with other BDPA folks from around the country. I wonder if she remembers those ski trips?!? Anyhow, I encourage you to share some love with Renee!

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