Tampa Bay’s 10 Leading Ladies 2011: Renu Parker

November 13, 2013 | South Tampa Magazine | Categories: 10 Leading Women, Editorial, People | Tags: Renu Parker, TAMCO Foundation

Renu Parker

South Tampa resident Renu Parker has had a dynamic life. Raised in Kentucky, she went on to become a New York City attorney for a large non-profit and eventually made her way to Tampa where she lives with her husband Jud and two daughters, Ava and Suri, works as a consultant and gives back to the community by co-chairing Pavilion XXVI at Tampa Museum of Art, among other things.

How did you become involved in charity work?

In the late 90’s, I was hired as a staff attorney at the world’s largest HIV/AIDS non-profit organization in New York City, where I worked with about 1,000 HIV/AIDS infected men and women. That job changed my life.

What is one of your favorite charity events in Tampa and why?

TAMCO Foundation hosts a wonderful yearly fishing tournament in April to benefit wounded soldiers and their families. It is so unique because donors and the wounded get to participate in the fundraiser together. The event also provides an opportunity for the public to personally thank soldiers for their sacrifices.

As a leading lady, what is one of your proudest accomplishments?

I am always trying to be a better person, mother, wife and friend. And on lucky days, I make a little progress.

Who do you most admire in Tampa?

All single parents raising children. Parenting is absolutely exhausting (as much as it is rewarding), and I tip my hat to those who manage it on their own.

Outside of charity work, what inspires you?

My daughters. They inspire me to be better.

Now that we’re entering the holiday season, what is one of your favorite memories with your family?

I had a fun and interesting childhood growing up in Kentucky. My parents were devout Hindus, and yet, my mom still embraced the traditions she learned while going to a Catholic boarding school in Burma. I absolutely loved the blending of customs which became commonplace in our home. It was fabulous having spicy Indian butter chicken (see recipe) for Christmas dinner!

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Yoda from Star Wars! I love when he tells Luke, “Do or do not… there is no try.” Classic!

What advice would you pass on to younger generations?

Work hard and take risks. It’s an awesome combination.

What is your motto or words you live by?

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.” -George Bernard Shaw

Asha Rai’s Indian Butter Chicken

Serves 4:


• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 2 small white onions, chopped

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

• 3 tablespoons fresh ginger

• 3 tablespoons fresh garlic

• 1 teaspoon garam masala

• 1 teaspoon chili powder

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1 bay leaf

• 1/4 cup plain yogurt

• 1 cup half-and-half

• 1 cup stewed tomatoes

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 pinch salt

• 1 pinch black pepper

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut in small cubes

• 1 teaspoon garam masala

• 1 pinch cayenne pepper

• 1 teaspoon cornstarch

• 1/4 cup water


1. Step 1: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft and slightly brown. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger, garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and stir for another 2 minutes. Add half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to warm.

2. Step 2: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a big skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken cubes until lightly browned. Stir in garam masala and cayenne, and then half a cup of sauce from Step 1. Simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add chicken to sauce.

3. Blend cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until thickened.

4. Serve with naan or basmati rice. Enjoy! Namaste!