Tech Diva Cynthia Renee Frazier Succumbs
By Dianne Anderson
Tenacious businesswoman, loving grandmother, teacher and down to earth social justice advocate are a just few of the many endearing qualities to describe local tech diva, Cynthia Renee Frazier.
Ms. Frazier passed away last week.
Charmain Johnson reflects on 20 years of their friendship, the long intellectual conversations about the community, business and social progress. They talked about getting beyond the obstacles of life and business.
“We just clicked and came together and said, hey, here’s the solution,”she said.
Together, they put on forums for women to talk about issues of impact and how to get plugged into what it takes to be in business as an entrepreneur on a formal level, she said.
She said Frazier wanted to present a structured approach and steps that women could take both at a personal and professional level to meet their goals and dreams.
“Cynthia was a very technical, methodical person, she was very caring, hands-on, and a do-what-you have-to-do kind of a gal,” Johnson said.
Frazier had a lot of love for the community and was a willing helper for many who asked. At a time when others in her circle were becoming grandparents, she also took on a mission to raise her grandson, Isaiah, from infancy.
“That stood out for me, she took on the role as a mother. That was admirable at her age, and to take care of a baby,”she said.
At a time when few women possessed her level of technical ability, Frazier was setting a higher standard. She founded Tech Divas Uncorked, where Johnson assisted with marketing, to teach women how to use tech to grow their own companies.
Johnson said she learned everything she knew about technology from Frazier in those early years.
“Her tech-savvy goes back to when the internet first got started,” she said. “She goes back before social media, before Facebook. She taught technology at the community college level and worked in technology for a long time.”
Through her career and her personal life, Frazier pressed on with several business models with the heart of a fighter.
“She’s had some great challenges in life that she’s overcome, and she’s taken it in stride” she said.
Kimberly Woods, who has a teen outreach program, recalls Frazier as an ardent community supporter. She said Frazier attended her vendor event with a booth for her business and held great influence in the community.
Everyone knew her and loved her.
“She talked to the audience about how they needed to learn computers at a time when people didn’t know how to use computers, or programs. She taught all of that,” Woods said.“She was just a great person inside and out.”
Trudy Coleman said Frazier was always supportive of her events, and regularly participated in the MLK breakfast, and Juneteenth.
“It was heartfelt for me because I know she’s a giver, always trying to help.“She’s definitely a loss to the community,” said Coleman, CEO/Founder of the Juneteenth Education Technology Mobile Arts Center, Inc.
Not only admired for her technical skills, she was also admired for her eagerness to share advice on how to create winning businesses and nonprofits.
Terrance Stone, founder and CEO of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, said that they often traveled in the same circles. She always brought a smile to the room.
Stone would invite her to meet with the IE Minority Led Resource Development Coalition, and she would come out to talk to their organizations about ways to strengthen their business outreach.
She called herself a tech diva to make it more appealing for the kids, he said. It was her way of showing that technology, as a career, was a cool choice.
“She was known as the tech diva, but probably before any other African American female, she was trying to push the issue with our kids about STEM,” Stone said. “With African American kids, all kids, she wanted to show the influence of career choices in technology.”
To Kim“Kat”Shepherd, who teaches business and computer courses at UCR Extension, Frazier was a trailblazer and pioneer in the tech field.
In many ways, Frazier was charting a new course for the community. Shepherd first met her at Riverside Chamber of Commerce events and said that she brought a special kind of energy to support tech in the Black community. Her nonprofit, Mobile Commerce Digital Technology Alliance, focused on business development and innovation.
“She was in the forefront of tech,” Shepherd said. “She was one of the first people to present tech and showcase tech in the Riverside community, which is predominantly an audience that is not Black women.”
Shepherd, who is also a grandmother, admired the legacy and love she had for her grandson. She said Frazier always wanted to include him in the back-end technical work and instill in him a sense of entrepreneurship.
“Her passion and love transcended from love to Isaiah. She planted all of these seeds in the community. It’s exponential what she did,” she said.