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Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham shares how business attracted her

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham (photo provided)

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham is vice president of Marketing and Communications at YWCA Minneapolis. In this role, Cunningham defines the organization-wide marketing, communications and public relations strategy to support the generation of $23M in annual revenue for the organization’s five divisions: health and wellness, early childhood education, girls and youth, racial justice and public policy, which serve more than 30K people annually in the Twin Cities community. Cunningham is responsible for the development, integration and implementation of the marketing communications strategy, including brand management and positioning, and oversees a broad range of MarCom products to support revenue goals and promote and enhance the image of YWCA Minneapolis.

A wife and mother of two, she has over 20 years of experience as a strategic marketing leader. She has a passion for understanding what drives behavior and uses that insight to develop integrated marketing plans that drive brand relevancy and business results.

Before joining the YWCA of Minneapolis in 2014, Cunningham was marketing manager for General Public Engagement at Be The Match®; led the sales promotion marketing team at Target; and held various marketing positions at 3M, including product, business development and channel marketing activities for leading consumer brands Scotch® and Scotch-Brite®.

Cunningham is an active member of the Women’s Health Leadership Trust, serving on the External Relations Committee. She has a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York; an MBA degree from Fordham University Graduate School of Business in New York; and completed continuing education courses at the University of Minnesota Carlson School Management, including healthcare delivery innovations.

Here’s more of her story.

Please describe your role as vice president of Marketing and Communications.
I define the organization-wide marketing, communications and public relations strategy to support the generation of $23M in annual revenue for YWCA Minneapolis’ five divisions: health and wellness, early childhood education, girls and youth, racial justice and public policy.

How did you determine your career path?
My father owned several barbershops when I was growing up in New York. Spending time in that environment and watching my mom manage the finances exposed me to some of the ins and outs of running a business and piqued my interest in business management. Later, high school internships at IBM, other work alongside powerful woman leaders, and my love for strategic planning propelled me to pursue an MBA and a career in marketing.

What industries connect to your career choice?
Industries that impact how we spread awareness and engage customers in our mission are directly connected to marketing and communications. In particular, the information industry is key; including digital technology (social, mobile, web and email), advertising, broadcasting and media. Additionally, healthcare; finance and insurance; state and local government agencies, human resources and IT services are directly connected to my current marketing and communications role.

Can you describe your leadership style?
I value diverse perspectives and seek input from team members to inform decision-making. I’m results-oriented and strive to empower my team members to do their best work. I believe in continual learning and promote training and development to increase our knowledge, and invest in tools to enhance our work. I’m hands-off but enjoy engaging in the marketing discipline, and expect attention to detail and high-quality execution.

You have been a part of the YWCA family for almost five years. What aspect of your work particularly resonates with you?
What attracted me to YWCA Minneapolis nearly five years ago, and what continues to resonate with me today, is our work in specific areas I care deeply about – education, health and our youth – all undertaken with a racial equity lens. Seeing the benefits access to high-quality early childhood education, afterschool programs and health and fitness affords all in our community (particularly those with fewer resources) is extremely inspiring and rewarding.

How would you define your purpose – at work and home/in the community?
This has always been a hard question for me to answer. And, I think I’m still determining my purpose. However, over the past 20 years, my purpose has been to build a happy and healthy family, and raise my son and daughter, giving them the foundation and education to better navigate this complex world.

Community success based on what you do in the community means what to you?
Community success to me means eliminating racial disparities and expanding YWCA Minneapolis’ work in the community so all can thrive.

This, month we are celebrating Women’s History Month. Who inspired you and why?
My mom has been the greatest inspiration in my life. She embodied strength, determination and grit. By instilling her morals and values, and guiding our lived experiences as a family, my siblings and I are able to live productive lives, build our own families, and in some small way be an inspiration to others.

Why is education so important today for young women?
I think education leads to empowerment. It provides greater access to the world, and exposure to diverse perspectives and opportunities. I think this allows young women to develop the emotional and economic empowerment necessary to confidently pursue their dreams and contribute to society.

Finish the sentence:
Teamwork is important because … it creates synergy — leveraging the strengths of diverse individuals to achieve a common goal. I think teams that work well together have a more engaging, committed experience and deliver stronger results.

Being involved in community is important to me because … it expands my knowing and connects me to a purpose larger than my own.

Without my family … I would not be who I am today.