Brenda Nelson, complex dining service manager for East Neighborhood, was recently honored with the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award in the Professional Advancement category by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen).
Presented in February 2018, the award is bestowed upon a woman who demonstrates a unique drive and passion for her career and contributes positively to MSU’s culture of excellence.
For nearly 30 years, Brenda has delivered moving presentations focused on leadership, self-branding and inclusiveness, as well as on an array of other subjects. The driving force behind many of her talks has been the concept of discovering your authentic self. Brenda’s mother bestowed upon her the motto that “serving it with love” is the best approach to creating a culture of love, respect and service to the customer and others with whom you interact.
It’s because of this personal philosophy and her endless support for the university that Brenda received the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award in 2014. The award honors six MSU employees each year who demonstrate Jack Breslin’s strong and innovative leadership as an engaged student, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate.
“Brenda’s motivational style of leadership is one that fosters an environment to achieve, to succeed, to work together as a team, to do what it takes to get the job done,” Amy Radford-Popp, director for the Broad College of Business Residential Business Community, wrote in her letter of support. “Going above and beyond is the norm for Brenda and the teams with whom she interacts.”
Brenda continues to exemplify the comments Amy shared as well as the qualities displayed by Jack Breslin. She impressed the GenCen selection committee as well, who wrote that Brenda “undoubtedly captures the essence” of the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award.
Throughout her time on campus, she was worn many hats, working in Guest Services, Residence Life, Culinary Services and Operations Coordination.
A devoted Spartan, Brenda earned two bachelor’s degrees in psychology and urban health from the university as well as a Master of Arts in adult life-long education. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in higher adult life-long education.