Q&A: Rachel Render


Rachel Render. Courtesy Davenport University

Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.

Rachel Render was recently appointed the executive vice president for alumni and development at Davenport University.

Most recently, she served as a senior director within the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, working with alumni and donors in New York City and Chicago.

Previously, she was with the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, where she led the school to the successful completion of the $65-million Rice Centennial Campaign.

She has also served in assistant and associate director roles in development and alumni relations at the University of Michigan for eight years, primarily within the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Biggest career break?

I was humbled and honored to be named the assistant dean of external relations for the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, getting to work closely with world-class philanthropists and global business leaders.

Proudest moment?

One of the most rewarding moments in my career was getting to be part of creating the Military Scholars Program at Rice University: a program funded by the generous community of Houston and focused on fully supporting our veterans in their pursuit of a full-time M.B.A. following their service to our country.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never take a job that doesn’t require you to go outside your comfort zone and stretch your ability.

How did you make your first dollar?

My first job was working Saturdays at my parent’s auto shop. I was the front-desk attendant, but balancing tires was my favorite task.  

Most-treasured possession?

I wouldn’t call them possessions, but my husband and our two kids are incredibly important in my life.

Dream job?

Being able to provide pro bono fundraising consulting to small nonprofit organizations

If you were president for a day, you would … ?

Work to make education more accessible for all.

Last book you read?

“10% Happier” by Dan Harris. It was recently recommended by a mentor of mine when I was telling him about my recent interest in meditation.

Last search term you googled?

Best ice cream in Grand Rapids (a must know when new to the area!)

Your worst habit?


To unwind, you like to … ?

Have a glass of wine with my husband and the neighbors, while all the kids play in the yard. 

Dream vacation?

Italy. But with two little boys under the age of three, this trip is a few years out for my husband and I!

Favorite food?


Person you most admire?

My parents. My mom and dad are dedicated to hard work, family and community.

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