Updated: Jun 20, 2020
Welcome to another I Am More post. Today's post features my amazing aunt, Jennair Rennie. Last week I had the honor of interviewing her on her successes in her life and in her career as a black woman. It was such a great interview and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to share it all with you.
Jennair was born in Plainfield, NJ and lived there until she was half way through sixth grade. She then moved to Piscataway, NJ where she graduated highschool. From their Jennair’s journey with school had many twists and turns, she started at Kean University where she completed one year but then dropped out. When she went back to school she finished her undergrad at Berkeley College, with a degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting. She also attended grad school, where she dropped out a few times but nevertheless prevailed and graduated with an MBA in Finance from Rutgers. If there is anything to be learned from Jennair’s schooling path, it is to never give up. I feel as though there is always so much pressure on us as humans to finish everything we start as soon as possible. However, it is not always ideal for everyone to power through things and it is ok to take breaks. As long as you get to your destination, who cares how you got there?
Jennair currently works at Dow Jones with the Wall Street Journal, she has been with them for about 13 years and during the interview she jokingly said she almost got there by accident. She was at a place where she was in between jobs and she would send her job application to anywhere that would accept it, and that is just another example of how no matter the circumstance Jennair prevailed; stronger and more knowledgeable. When asked if it was hard being a woman in the workplace, Jennair responded “ Yes. It’s hard being a woman, it’s hard being a black woman.” From there we spoke about the low representation of women within these fortune 500 companies and how the ratio of women to men was low, but from within that there was an even lower percentage of colored women. Jennair told me how a few years ago in the beginning stages of the Me Too movement her company sent out an email explaining their push to have women in higher positions within the company because they had a lack of inclusivity. In the same email they noted that they were aware that the company also lacked diversity, but they would address that issue later.
When I heard about this I had mixed emotions about how companies go about fixing their problems such as gender and racial issues. On one hand it is nice to hear that these large, prominent companies are taking a look at these issues and attempting to fix them, but on the other hand I think it is fair to say that they might just be trying to reach a certain statistic. The push to see change is definitely a double edged sword in the workplace for everyone involved. For the companies attempting to implement the change some truly want to make a difference and others may simply do it to save face. For employees this may make them question whether or not they were hired for their abilities or if it was to meet a quota. This can create a tension between the employer and the employee. I think it’s best that as an employee you keep an open and positive mind and know that you were hired for a reason and that no matter the reason in some way, shape, or form you are helping that company function properly.
Jennair went on to tell me that while she has faced challenges being a black woman she is very proud of where she has come in her career, as senior leader in a predominately white newsroom with a product that goes to predominantly white males. She says that is an accomplishment, but she does not think she has reached her greatest accomplishment within her professional life yet.
Through all of the hard time and good times Jennair has always had the support of her husband and she has various role models that she looks to for guidance when in need of it. In ten years from now she hopes to see herself with multiple streams of income through businesses she has created for herself.
I think this was such a great interview and I’m so happy I got to speak with her because she has brought so many great topics to the table that need to be talked about such as women in business, women of color in business, perseverance throughout life. I am so grateful I was able to share this all with you!
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