Living The Dream
Senior Johnnise Renaud making an impact in her Atlanta Dream internship
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Johnnise Renaud knows about delivering.
As a junior, the North Miami, Fla., native delivered a 24-8 singles record, playing mostly at No. 1 or 2, and a 24-5 mark in doubles, 22-4 with partner Rasheeda McAdoo on the nation’s 30th-ranked team, which played almost exclusively at No. 1. She qualified for the NCAA Tournament in both.
Renaud’s junior season continued her streak of delivering for the Jackets. She’s never won fewer than 20 matches in singles in any of her three collegiate seasons and has won 24, 25 and 25 matches in doubles.
Renaud is still delivering this summer but on a team that plays on a very different court, the basketball court, serving as an intern for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
The internship came up as Johnnise was preparing for the NCAA Championships, courtesy of former Georgia Tech Associate Athletic Director Theresa Wenzel, who’d taken over as president of the Dream on March 2, 2016.
“I knew Theresa since my freshman year and she’s been very, very close to me, very close to the team, so I reached out to her about the internship and being a game-day ops and event ops intern,” she said. “She called me one day and just sort of put me on the schedule.”
Johnnise hit the ground running on her first day, May 31st — coincidentally the day the Dream hosted the San Antonio Stars and former Yellow Jacket Alex Montgomery at McCamish Pavilion (Renaud said she was too busy to actually meet Montgomery). She’s been running ever since.
“I usually work 1 to 5. It’s really chill and laid-back,” she said. “Usually when you get to work, you get in your cubicle, you want to try and start your task as soon as possible because they can run you all day or you can be hit with another task that’s probably going to take all day. I go and check in with everyone, make sure everyone is okay.”
She’s okay with working overtime and usually does.
“You take it home with you, you bring it to school, you think about it every day. So it’s more than just 1-to-5,” she said. “I have my hands in a lot of stuff right now but I’m enjoying it so far.”
The two projects that keep Renaud’s hands fullest are Military Family of the Game and the All-Star Reading Initiative.
The Military Family of the Game, a halftime tradition at Dream games since 2012, recognizes military personnel who distinguished themselves with their leadership during their military careers and now serve as leaders and role models at home and in their community. You can nominate Military personnel by visiting the team’s web site (www.wnba.com/archive/wnba/dream/community/military_family_of_the_game.html). Johnnise’s role is to find and book military members and their families to be honored.
The All-Star Reading Initiative kicked off in January, 2016. A Dream player, member of the coaching staff or front office and “Star,” the team’s official mascot, travel to local schools, libraries or youth organizations and read to youngsters in helping promote literacy and reading (on the day The Good Word talked with Johnnise, she was headed to a YMCA for a session).
Handling Military Family of the Game and All-Star Reading Initiative in addition to tasks that may come up from other departments make the internship rewarding.
“It is because when you have your hands on a lot of different things you get to meet people from different departments,” she said. “You get to see everything from the whole 360 instead of just the office view or just the corporate-sponsorship view. So I really like it. It’s a very well-rounded job.”
It’s a job Johnnise hopes will lead to a future opportunity with the Dream.
“I’m going to do it the whole summer and see if Theresa maybe will give me a few days during the week in the fall because I like being there so much,” she said. “I hope it works out if my work is up to par and they like my energy. So I hope that a full time opportunity comes about.”