The Legacy of Brenda Denise Gray
|July 30, 2015|
The WiN blog was created to share the personal and professional success stories of women in our organization, so their journeys, their career paths, and their advice for others can inspire a new generation of leaders. This post honors a woman whose journey ended unexpectedly; a leader within Shaw, within WiN, and within her community who has left us with many stories of success – these are her legacy to us all.
As part of the WiN Steering Committee and member of the Shaw Diversity Council, Brenda recently provided leadership in driving the organization toward a greater culture of candor. Facilitating a focus group on the topic, she opened with a brief introduction and guided the discussion. Her quiet calm and genuine listening invited people to share, and the organization learned more in the process. In championing candor, Brenda was creating openness to diverse perspectives and ideas, which leads to innovation and new ways of doing things.
Now, in the wake of her passing, we yearn to know what else she had to share. Brenda offered a diverse perspective, shaped by her unique experiences.
Born in 1960, she grew up in Alabama and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in 1978 as an honor student and a member of the marching band. From there, she attended Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1982 with a degree in Business Administration. Brenda’s thirst for knowledge led her to Kennesaw State University where she earned an Executive MBA in 2013. In her 29-year career with Shaw, she was a beacon of leadership within the custom design team, and recently began a new path as a Global Marketing Manager, travelling the world and forging new ground for international growth. She was co-owner of Always Best Care Senior Service Agency, an active member of Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church, on the Board of Directors for the Etowah Scholarship Foundation and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Rome Chapter. She was a wife, a mother, and a friend.
The leadership examples embedded in this short account of Brenda’s life are numerous. Her passing is a great loss for Shaw and WiN, and to everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.
We are left to carry on what she started and be an advocate for candor, a champion for diversity and live in courageous pursuit of new opportunities. In her memory, we can be genuine and authentic in our interactions; we can be open to criticism and debate; and we can seek out perspectives that are different than our own. We can celebrate her life with gratitude for the example she provided and by purposely living our own.