AT&T's Cynt Marshall: A Leader in 'Leading with Values'

On a stage at UCLA Anderson, Marshall literally brought an audience of 400 to their feet.

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, SVP of human resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T / UCLA Anderson

Originally published on The UCLA Anderson Blog

She's spent her 36-year career with AT&T (No. 4 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list), holding the title of SVP of human resources and chief diversity officer since 2015; but it wasn't the telecommunications field or the company, specifically, that ignited Cynthia "Cynt" Marshall's early passion. Marshall's passion is simply what she brings to whatever she does, wherever she goes — to work, to higher education, to her son's swim meet, to surviving colon cancer and, last week, to a stage at UCLA Anderson in front of 400 people she literally brought to their feet.

Introduced by Anderson Women board member and Velocity conference co-chair Sherry Jackman ('10), Marshall gave the audience a post-prandial shot in the arm for the second year in a row. "To say she's back by popular demand is a complete understatement," said Jackman, followed by loud applause. AT&T was the presenting sponsor of Velocity, the UCLA Anderson Women's Leadership Summit, whose theme was Empower Together. An enormous component of the company's generosity was sending Cynt Marshall (and a cheering section of AT&T staff) to represent. Among her prominent colleagues are UCLA Anderson alumni John Stankey ('91), CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, and Norberta Noguera (Riordan Fellow '95, FEMBA '01), vice president of AT&T's security and advanced applications.

Marshall's fierce company loyalty far exceeds the requirements of her job, though. She has boundless energy and enthusiasm not just for business and corporate leadership, but for general integrity, human cooperation and core values as well. Her unmistakable message to Anderson MBAs — along with the Girls Scouts, high school students, seasoned industry professionals and academics who also crowded into the auditorium — is to bring your values into your professional environment, do not check your personality at the door.

UCLA Anderson

Was she kicked back a time or two for being herself, for being "loud" as she put it? No question. Marshall once prepared a speech that almost got her fired at a time when some in the company leadership weren't ready for frank discussions about the obligation to give everyone a place at the table. But she continued to impose her candor and evangelism. "The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but in who we are and what we value," she said. And now AT&T goes beyond mere "tolerance" to privilege true understanding.

So if any aspiring executive ever needed living proof that persisting in believing in the validity of your ideas and your self-worth moves you forward, the ardent Marshall makes a convincing case. Consider these ingredients — Marshall's two Cynts' worth — for success in work and in life:

"Surround yourself by like-minded people, even if they don't look like you." This doesn't mean homogeny, it means you can gain strength from what you find in common with people committed to inclusion.

"Embrace your 'firstness.'" Instead of feeling like a simple token representative of your group, tout your achievement as a milestone of progress for any underrepresented person or group.

"HASU: Hook a sister up." Do you see someone with valid ideas and great skills struggling against gender bias? Speak up for that colleague or friend or stranger.

"Doing something the right way is not the same as doing the right thing."

"MARC: It stands for men advocating for real change." Marshall described effective, supportive white male mentors as unthreatened by difference: "They will help you deliver the goods if they want something good for the company."

"Your integrity is not for sale." Period.

AT&T and U.S. Air Force Academy Collaborate to Explore Advanced Technologies

Formal 5- Year Agreement Aims to Help U.S. Air Force Keep Pace With, Acquire and Use Commercial Technology.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* and the U.S. Air Force Academy are working together on networking services and advanced technology capabilities. They entered a 5-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) aimed at boosting the Air Force's use of modern technology at a pace more like the commercial sector.

"Networking is a platform for innovation and mission support," said Lt. Col. Michael Chiaramonte, director of Air Force CyberWorx at the Air Force Academy. "With access to AT&T's resources, we plan to advance our academic and research objectives. By leveraging public-private partnerships with AT&T and our other industry partners, we improve our understanding and use of technology and, ultimately, improve the Air Force's mission capabilities."

The collaboration aims to:

  • Offer knowledge and commercial best practices of cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and other AT&T-led innovations for the Air Force Academy faculty. Such innovations include Smart Base solutions, software-defined networking and 5G.
  • Provide hands-on demonstrations for Academy cadets.
  • Ensure AT&T has greater insight into the vision and technology needs of the U.S. Air Force.
  • Explore opportunities beyond academic interests.

"Our work with the U.S. Air Force Academy will be much like an action-oriented academic 'think tank.' We're here to help the Air Force keep pace with commercial innovation and pinpoint their current and future technology needs," said Rocky Thurston, Client Executive VP, AT&T Public Sector.

Part of the Air Force's larger mission

Partnerships fuel the Academy research program. There are 19 centers and 2 institutes, as well as cadets, faculty and industry all working together for the benefit of tomorrow's Air Force. CyberWorx was established in 2016 as a public-private design center focused on cyber capability. It combines Air Force, academic and industry expertise with state of the art technology and innovative thinking to solve operational problems.

AT&T: How to Build a Culture of Learning

Instead of only providing employees with classroom and web-based training, we're also supplementing those resources with relevant content from social and digital platforms, like social media channels, podcasts and video platforms.

By Jennifer Robertson

Originally Published by AT&T.

Last year, best-selling author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited AT&T. During a conversation with employees, he emphasized the importance of continuous learning for employees and employers to succeed in the age of acceleration.

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