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Rena with family
KENW development/promotions director Rena Garrett with her daughter Kaitlin and husband Alan after Kaitlin’s University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony.

Rena Garett’s third job at Eastern New Mexico University is as the development/promotions director for KENW PBS New Mexico.

Her current responsibilities include coordinating on-air membership drives, television membership, program underwriting, television promotion on the KENW website and program promotion on-air.      

In her previous role as the University Post Office Manager, she oversaw the contract Post Office and the incoming and outgoing mail for the University and ENMU students.

Before that, Rena was an administrative assistant for Career Services. She helped coordinate the teacher fairs, career fairs and helped students with resumes and sending out credentials.

The development/promotions director, who began working at ENMU in December 1996, says she likes "talking with our viewers and donors and learning why they enjoy Public Television and how PBS is important in their lives. I also enjoy my co-workers.

"One task that I really dislike about my job is contacting monthly donors about declined or invalid credit cards. I also dislike having to work every Thanksgiving weekend and spring break, because there always are PBS drives scheduled during those times."

Rena says a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for KENW’s fundraising pledge drives.

"The pledge drives require many weeks of preparation, including the scheduling of programs, scheduling of volunteers and preparing documents to collect statistics and information," she said. "The telephone volunteers who help me are wonderful, and I really enjoy and appreciate each one. I could not get through the pledge drives without their help. 

"The drives are important to KENW because we raise monies outside of the regular membership renewals, and the special programming is a reminder to our viewers/donors that we are a non-profit entity and rely on them for support and additional funding." 

Rena appreciates ENMU because it gives students the opportunity to receive a quality education. She also believes Eastern, because of its size, allows students to be involved in many activities and organizations and acquire additional knowledge from faculty that is helpful in furthering their careers.   

"Portales is a friendly community and is a great place to raise a child. The public schools are really good and the dual enrollment offered through ENMU helps prepare high school students for college." 

Rena graduated from Abilene High School in Texas and received a BFA in interior design from Texas Tech University. She received an MA in communication from ENMU.

"I like learning new things and was ready for a change when I accepted this position," Rena said. "In most of the jobs I have had, I worked extensively with people, and that is probably one reason I have selected the jobs I have had."

Rena, who enjoys music, going to the movies, hiking and walking/jogging, says she is always looking for new and interesting opportunities.  "Too often, plans become scripts and limit people," she said.

Her happiest moments include getting baptized, married, the birth of her daughter and graduating with an MA degree. Her saddest moments include the passing of her parents. 

Born in Abilene, Texas, Rena is the youngest of five children. Her parents were married for over 60 years.

"My siblings and I were very fortunate to have hard-working, loving and wonderful parents. My father was a self-employed electrical contractor and my mother helped him in his business while taking care of the children," Rena said.

"Two of my brothers recently retired from the business my father started and now my nephew is running it. The business started by my dad is over 55 years old. The street that we lived on was full of other families with children and I had friends to play with and swim with in the summer. We always had a lot of fun." 

Rena’s husband, Alan W. Garrett, just completed his 25th year at ENMU. He is a professor of educational foundations. She says Alan is very knowledgeable in his field and many of his students have expressed how much they learn from his courses. He also serves on the Portales School Board. 

"Alan likes to work outside and is a wonderful gardener. Each year, he enters vegetables grown from our garden and pecans from our trees in the Roosevelt County Fair and does quite well. His garden always looks healthy and neat," Rena said.

Their daughter, Kaitlin, is in her second year at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. She received her BS with a major in biology and a minor in biochemistry from New Mexico State University. She completed her undergraduate degree in three years by taking advantage of the dual enrollment program through ENMU and graduated from high school with 41 credit hours. 

Kaitlin played soccer for 13 years, including five years as a varsity starter at Portales High School. Her parents traveled to games and tried to attend every one.

"It was so much fun and we enjoyed knowing her teammates and their parents," Rena said.

Rena finds new technology exciting and hopes to be around "to witness driverless cars, scientific advances and new medical technologies."

She also "hopes to live a long and healthy life," as well as being "a fun and good grandmother when the opportunity arises."

Rena says her philosophy of life is simple. "I try to be nice and friendly to other people and like to smile at others, hoping that a smile might brighten their day." 

She says her family and her faith are extremely important, but admits she puts too much emphasis on work because of her strong work ethic. 

Her bucket list includes traveling internationally, having a pet dog and spending more time with family and friends.

Rena and her daughter at "Beatles Love" in Las Vegas.
rena with daughter