The Women's Foundation Honors Memphians Who are Making a Difference
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A prolific writer, presenter and leader in the field of psychology, Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham became the first African American to serve as Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Memphis in 2003. She has served as president of three national professional organizations — the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, the International Association of Counseling Services, and the Society of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA). Rosie was an organizer of the first National Multicultural Conference and Summit of the APA. She was selected as one of 15 women from around the world to participate in the Women of Color Development Incubator Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation and used that training when she served as Chair of the Board of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM). She also served on the Board of Directors for American Psychological Association and on the Council of Student Affairs for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Locally, she serves on the Baptist Women’s Hospital Board of Directors and on the Boards of Trustees for New Memphis Institute and WFGM.
What or who motivates you?
“I get motivated by lots of things and lots of people. But especially by inspirational stories; seeing people overcome. I’m very spiritual; so, I’m inspired by testimonies, by people doing good to others, and our students.”
What’s your greatest challenge?
“My greatest challenge and satisfaction might be interpersonal relationships. But also that I step up and speak up. While I will do that, I always have to tell myself to do that.”
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
“First turn first to faith, then peace follows. Then a really practical one, that I tell everyone, learn to do discretionary saving, even if it’s a small amount. Not emergency fund or retirement. I believe for those of us who aren’t wealthy, that’s how we gain financial freedom.”
What’s your proudest moment/greatest reward?
“Other than my son, you know, it’s last year when the University of Memphis Black Student Association gave me their Lifetime Achievement Award. For students to say I made a difference still makes me emotional.”
What’s the best advice you ever received?
“Probably depends on which setting. One was something I saw modeled; I watched my predecessor always take his children’s calls. Working moms struggle with giving enough to their kids. My son always had access to me. Made him feel like I was always there and I could have less guilt. Another is when you are a person of color, or a woman, when you’re at the table, speak up. It’s not enough to be at the table, you must speak up.”