Meet Freda BredyApril 28, 2010
IBM Senior Consultant and Army Medical Corps Reservist
Freda Bredy, a 2005–06 Selected Professions Fellow, remembers that in high school her mother served a dual role as guidance counselor and SECME (Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering) adviser. This involvement all but guaranteed Freda’s involvement in science and math activities at the school.
In 11th grade Freda participated in a statewide SECME mousetrap vehicle design engineering competition. She stayed up late into the night before the competition trying to fashion a small car out of a mousetrap. With bated breath Freda watched as her car barely squeaked past the inch mark at the competition. But, seeing the other students who had succeeded in making a mousetrap car, Freda felt she could still embrace her love for science and math. “This experience definitely made me strong,” Freda confessed. “Tenacity is really important, in fact critical, in succeeding.”
As an electrical engineering undergraduate student at Tuskegee University, Freda joined the Army ROTC program; she saw her older sister, Cynthia, as a role model. Cynthia joined the military when there were few women serving in active duty and eventually rose to captain, company commander. “In the morning I would watch her putting on her uniform and go out to lead,” said Freda.
Drawing on her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, Freda performed her four years of active duty service as part of the Medical Service Corps as an environmental science officer. Since completing her active duty, Freda has continued in the same position as an Army Reserve officer.
In 2004 Freda returned to school for an MBA with the financial support of an AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship. As an engineer Freda learned and applied the technical aspects of math, science, and problem solving, and she felt an MBA would allow her to round out her expertise with soft skills such as organizational leadership, marketing, and negotiations. The AAUW fellowship allowed Freda to gather the necessary funds for school, and, through the organization, she was introduced to local AAUW branches such as the Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch, where she learned about AAUW community work and developed meaningful relationships. Freda said, “I have been enlightened by so many people in AAUW.”
Freda, who now works as a senior consultant for IBM, was recently selected for a promotion to lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. She is also celebrating the birth of her five-month old daughter, Dana. Freda contributes her many successes to those who came before her, highlighting the support of Dr. Dora Johnson, who first introduced her to AAUW, Col. Arthur Holmes, her Professor of Military Science at Tuskegee University, and Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson, who was inspirational during her military duty in Hawaii.
As Freda reflects on those who have supported her, her advice to blog readers is only fitting. “Thank your role models and those who have contributed to your success. I think of the women before me, and if not for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”