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Alumni Spotlight: Rena Gainey

November 2011

Rena Gainey had just been hired by Deere & Company in 1996 when a colleague recommended the St. Ambrose ACCEL program. Her first supervisor also recognized her potential right away and suggested she get her degree. That was the start of her educational journey.

The single mother of a teenager, she decided it was her time to stretch, grow and set an example for others by showing it's never too late to develop yourself. She investigated the ACCEL program and decided to get her bachelor's in business administration. Even before she finished at ACCEL, she began to realize the opportunities that would open up for her with a college degree. Rena's commitment to learning paid off in her life and her career.

At Deere, she received numerous promotions and still continues to travel the globe for John Deere as manager of the Business Conduct Integration Center for Global Business Conduct. She continues to learn from her work experiences and give back to the university by volunteering for programs like the China Project where she will be a presenter in the China Business Forum on February 22.

Because of Rena's spiritual connection with the world, she was tremendously inspired by Fr. Joe DeFrancisco's theology classes. His passion and enthusiasm is contagious for all the students in his classes. ACCEL instructor Carl Loweth, a fellow John Deere employee with real life business experience, was able to bring all of her coursework together through his business capstone class.

"Consider the process a journey–one step at a time," says Rena, especially to people considering going back to school. "The idea of long-term commitment to graduation can seem so big, so breaking it down into 5-8 week pieces seems easier. A person can do almost anything for five weeks."


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