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Brenda Gaines

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Information about Brenda Gaines

Profile image of Brenda Gaines

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Junk Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii, Los Cabos
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/22/1949
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Business Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Junk Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii, Los Cabos
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/22/1949
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Brenda Gaines is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Brenda J. Gaines, president of Diners Club North America, grew up in North Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in public administration from Roosevelt University.

From 1980 until 1981, Gaines served as a deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before becoming special assistant to the regional administrator. In September 1983, she was appointed to head the Chicago Housing Authority. In July 1985, Chicago Mayor Harold Washington appointed Gaines deputy chief of staff. After Washington died unexpectedly in 1987, Gaines entered corporate America as the head of government and community relations for Citibank. Gaines quickly rose to senior vice president in charge of residential lending. In 1992, she moved to the Citigroup subsidiary Diners Club and held a number of leadership positions with Diners Club and Citicorp before being named president of Diners Club North America in 1999.

Gaines holds leadership positions with various organizations and businesses. She serves on the boards of Citibank Canada; Diners Club International; Office Depot; World Business Chicago; the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boys and Girls Club of Chicago; Junior Achievement of Chicago; World Business of Chicago; and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. She is also a member of Lambda Alpha International and the Economic Club of Chicago, and she mentors for MENTTIUM 100 and the Partnering for Success Program.

Gaines has received a number of awards and honors for her civic and professional leadership and service. Black Enterprise included her in its list of the Top Fifty Blacks in Corporate America, and Gaines was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America by Fortune in 2002. In 2008 she was appointed to Fannie Mae's Board.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Gaines' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Gaines lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Gaines describes her family's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Gaines talks about her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Gaines describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Gaines describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in North Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Gaines remembers visiting the South as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Gaines describes her childhood activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Gaines shares her memories of elementary school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brenda Gaines talks about the racial composition of her community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Gaines describes attending North Chicago High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Gaines talks about attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Gaines shares her memories of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Gaines talks about cultural shifts stemming from the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Gaines talks about her activities at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Gaines describes working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD]
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Gaines talks about being recruited by Chicago Mayor Harold Washington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Gaines describes working for Mayor Harold Washington as Housing Commissioner
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Gaines describes Chicago Mayor Harold Washington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Gaines talks about Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and the black community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Gaines talks about running the Chicago Housing Authority
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Gaines describes her role as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Gaines remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's death in 1987
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Gaines describes working for Citibank and Diners Club
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Gaines contrasts working for the government versus the private sector
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Gaines talks about Mayor Harold Washington's work habits and speculation about his death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Gaines talks about the need to increase in diversity in Corporate America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brenda Gaines comments on diversity in Corporate America and affirmative action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brenda Gaines describes her hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brenda Gaines reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brenda Gaines talks about the barriers facing black women
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brenda Gaines describes her parents' pride in her success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brenda Gaines describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brenda Gaines talks about challenges she faces at the workplace