Name: Cathy Renna

Where do you live? Montclair

When did you move there? 2015 

Where did you grow up? I am a Native New Yorker, born in Queens and grew up on Long Island, but I also lived in Washington, DC for a decade – and spent and spend as much time as I am able with family in Italy.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

They are one and the same – I love what I do, do what I love, and I also get to make a difference and fight for equality. I am an activist, working in media, communications and advocacy for 30 years – focused on the LGBTQ+ community. I currently serve as the Communications Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force and have had a consulting firm, TargetCue, for over a decade.

Coffee, tea or … ? Double expresso, splash of half and half, Lavazza…..Italians are picky about their coffee.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?

Depends on the weather! A hot sunny day at the beach (Asbury Park, I love the Jersey Shore) with my wife is my happy place, but I also love time with family. My daughter lives in Texas right now, so that is always special and we especially love time our many nieces and nephews.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Hard question! Palato and Seven Doors Down, but Pasta Ramen is a new fave.

What’s on your nightstand? Remote control and tissues. I don’t read in bed – but I am reading my sensei’s new book “Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Jutsu Concepts & Philosophy”

What are you listening to? Big fan of podcasts, Rachel Maddow, Translash and other LGBTQ and news focused podcasts. Music is super varied, a lot of dance and classics for Pride month, but my favorite music is Italian pop/dance/rap. Jovanotti is my fave.

What are your current indulgences?

Hmmmm……I have a pretty amazing life and get to experience things all the time that feel like indulgences – things I could have never imagined as a young person. Especially through my work, from events, to theater to conferences, meetings and concerts, so I feel like indulgences and special experiences are something I get all the time! But a trip to Edgewater to shop at the Japanese supermarket and have snacks at the food court is a favorite thing to do that is a total indulgence. 

What talent you would most like to have? Singing. My daughter once asked me to “sing in my head” in the car when we were singing along to Lady Gaga (she was about 6)….it is that bad!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair?

I love that Montclair is a combination of all the best of the ‘burbs – space, nature, and a thriving downtown and arts and culture scene, but with the kind of diversity that defines the type of town – and world – I want to live in. My hope is we can maintain that diversity over time.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

She made the world a better place. She always did the right thing – even when it was hard.