Anyone with aspirations for climbing the corporate ladder knows that the best advice comes from insiders at the top, and Cynthia Brinkley has occupied the top rungs at some of the largest and most-established companies for more than a quarter-century. At 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 17, in Graham Chapel, Brinkley shared her experiences at AT&T and most recently, General Motors.
Her talk, “The View From HQ: Thoughts on Corporate Leadership, Past, Present and Future,” also served as the annual Adele Chomeau Starbird Lecture, sponsored by the Women’s Society of Washington University.
During her tenure at AT&T, Brinkley served as senior vice president for talent development and chief diversity officer. In this key position, she was charged with identifying and developing future company leaders as well as overseeing staff development and company-wide training programs.
As president of AT&T Missouri and AT&T Arkansas, Brinkley directed the company’s regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs in those states. In 2011, she joined GM to head up corporate human resources and direct diversity strategies.
Brinkley lends her time and expertise to educational organizations such as the National Oasis Institute, and, closer to home, serves on Washington University’s Board of Trustees. She holds two bachelor’s degrees: one in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia; and one in political science from Truman State University.