Renée Richard, a mother of three precocious teens, has always been interested in the self-development of girls and women; leading her to dedicate her life to the development and education of women and girls in disadvantaged communities. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the USC, Marshall School of Business, Renée spearheaded the creation of a women’s mentoring program at Procter & Gamble, her first employer. Soon, the program gained national attention, and P&G realized the effect formal mentoring had on its diverse sales force.
After giving birth to three children, two boys and a girl, Renée wondered how working parents and especially single mothers managed it all: work, education, cultural experiences and providing great role models to their children. Renée accepted the challenge of creating an organization that could help parents meet this need and fill the gap of the large amount of girls of color being underserved. In 2003, Renée’s vision came to realization through the founding of Cinnamongirl, Inc. (CGI).
Renée has received several awards for her work with CGI including: a Jefferson Award on behalf of KGO (Channel 5), All-star Award from AT&T and SF Giants Community, a Benjamin Travis Community Service Award from the Charles Houston Bar Association and recognition from the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. She has expertise in gender based mentoring, group mentoring and developing relationships with girls. She is considered an expert on girls mentoring programs and has been a guest speaker for both teen and professional engagements.
In addition to being CGI’s executive director and founder, Renée serves as a member of the Board of Directors. She lives in Northern California with her three children, Julien, attending the University of Michigan; Joshua, attending Bentley School in Lafayette, and Jayla, attending Head Royce School in Oakland.
Christyl Wilson attended the University of San Francisco, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with minors in Child Development and African American studies. During her tenure at USF, Christyl began working with Cinnamongirl as an Intern and then as Program Manager. Upon graduating, Christyl joined Teach For America to continue in her effort to make a difference in the lives of children. In her role as an elementary school educator for 3 years, she helped to close the achievement gap for elementary school students in South Atlanta. With an even greater passion for positive African American youth development, Christyl decided to attend Georgia State University, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Her primary research interest is in the psychosocial development of children and ado-lescents who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Christyl’s involvement with Cinna-mongirl is fueled by a desire to see young women of color realize their full potential and overcome obstacles inherent in our society.
Jasmin Griggs is a junior majoring in Chemistry at Wellesley College. Before her senior year of high school at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, Jasmin had no intention of going to a women’s college and definitely did not identify as a feminist. However, taking the senior class “Women’s Literature” inspired her to seek out opportunities to support and collaborate with other female students. She credits the experiences that she has had in college for motivating her to become more assertive and explore aca-demic and extracurricular interests that had previously intimidated her. Jasmin is ex-cited to graduate in May of 2016, and she hopes to pursue a career in medicine.