It takes a village of everyday heroes to transform your San Diego Convention Center into the “small cities” that the venue hosts on a weekly basis.
Among our diverse workforce is an electrician by the name of Cinna Brown. Cinna does not fit the traditional stereotype. She’s our Convention Center’s only female electrician.
Her true uniqueness lies in her outstanding leadership in the industry and in San Diego. When she is not working her magic in the Convention Center, she is heavily involved with supporting her community.
“Not only is she a talented and highly-skilled electrician, Cinna lives out our core values when she’s off the clock by serving the community with integrity and courage,” said San Diego Convention Center Corporation President & CEO Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, CVE.
Cinna is an active member of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus of San Diego & Imperial Counties (EWMC). The EWMC shares the trade with the community and promotes diversity within the IBEW 569, the local union that represents over 3,000 electrical workers in San Diego and Imperial Valley. Along with serving as a support and networking system, the EWMC also provides education and training.
Cinna is responsible for creating a mentoring program that provides volunteer opportunities to get involved with the IBEW 569 so that youth and adults interested in the trades can experience what it is like to work in a union.
- Earlier this year, Cinna organized a tour of our newly remodeled Sails Pavilion so that the EWMC could learn first-hand about the color LED lighting system, one of the Convention Center’s newest technologies. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions about the installation of the $377,000 system and experience how the LEDs are controlled by a computerized system
- Cinna also organized a tour that explored thermal imaging as a specialization for electricians. The tour group observed how the imaging is used in a building as large as the San Diego Convention Center and asked questions about the techniques and advantages of the system. Each tour educated workers about how specific skills can enhance their careers, as well as the available job opportunities at the Convention Center.
Cinna says she takes great pride in sharing the work that we do at our iconic venue with her peers in the industry so that they can experience real life examples of the latest innovative technology in power. And as for sharing her experience as a female electrician?
“I don’t feel disadvantaged by being a woman in this trade,” said Cinna. “If I do well, I have the opportunity to excel.”
DeeAnne Snyder, CMP, Director of Event Services, shared the significance of the partnership between the San Diego Convention Center and the IBEW 569.
“As one of the leading convention centers in the world, we have built our reputation on our core value of service. Our synergistic partnership with the local labor unions and especially IBEW 569 has uniquely positioned us with our global customers in exceeding their expectations on the quality of work performance.”
Many people wonder how she ended up on her career path as an electrician.
“Growing up, traditional college didn’t appeal to me,” she said. “I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do for a living, but when I went to school, I only wanted to study material that helped me in my career. My parents didn’t have money to send me through school, so that meant I needed to work and go to school at the same time to take care of myself. Trade school ended up meeting my needs. Their apprenticeships provide free schooling, college credit for your classes, and paid on-the-job training.”
Cinna has grown into a leadership role in supporting and mentoring women who are interested in a career in the trades. This year, she helped organize the EWMC’s 3rd Annual Empowering Women in the Trades Conference. This event is one of many ways that the EWMC gives back to the community through education and advocacy.
The conference included compelling workshops featuring themes focused on union participation, team building, and an introduction to the trades for pre-apprentices and high school students. The attendees were treated to renowned speakers such as labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Assemblymember Shirley Weber and union leader Jane Templin.
When she’s not working, volunteering, or spending time with her family, Cinna somehow finds the time and energy to complete her Facilities Management Certificate to add to her impressive 22 years of commercial and industrial installations.
The San Diego Convention Center celebrates staff like Cinna Brown because she not only lives out her values in her work, but also in her personal life and her community. She does all of this with humility and professionalism. Simply put, she loves what she does and it shows in the way that she helps others.