Home: Greater Houston area. Profession: Executive coach. Years in your current profession: 12. Significant other: Steve, my husband of nearly 30 years. Alma mater: University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana (B.S.); University of Texas – Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Business (M.S.).
Current project: Exploring culinary anthropology and exchanging authentic Latin American recipes with my friend Kim Caviness, founder of FamiliaKitchen.com. Recent recognition: “Cynthia has an innate curiosity about and appreciation for diverse cultures, perspectives and life experiences. Her cultural intelligence and ability to build bridges is off the charts – a trait that is so needed in today’s divided world” (recommendation from an executive coaching client). Recent professional development: My studies in the Positive Intelligence (PQ) program. Your IQ and EQ may determine your potential, but your PQ gets you out of your own way and determines what you actually achieve. Latest contribution to others: Pro Bono grief coaching, including assisting women who have been rescued from human trafficking. Recent travel or adventure: A family trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Last book read: The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin. Recent unique acquisition: A file of letters written by my great-grandfather, who passed away in 1939. Discovering unspoken family stories and how they shaped future generations.
Moral compass: The seamless story of the entire Bible, and my faith in Jesus Christ. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Trustworthy, collaborative and respectful. What natural talent have you neglected? Hospitality, and singing. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Emergency room physicians and nurses. What is at the top of your bucket list? Returning to Italy to study cooking, visit old friends and introduce my family to the sights, sounds and cultures of one of my favorite places on earth. What is your go-to workout? Yoga and spin in an infrared sauna. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Intellectual stimulation – the opportunity to explore different cultures – with my family.
What is your superpower? Endless curiosity about human behavior. What one thing you have done that surprised your family and friends? A few years ago, our eldest son and I celebrated our December birthdays by getting matching tattoos.
What was your favorite college course? The History of Rock and Roll. What movie have you repeatedly watched? When Harry Met Sally. What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? A map of the world. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Our sons – one through adoption and one through birth. Getting to know each of them as individuals has clarified my values, reordered my priorities and made me re-evaluate how I wanted to impact the world. What’s the best advice you received in your career? Look for the people who believe in what you have to offer and will give you opportunities to flourish. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Decluttering. What company or organization do you most admire? Compassion International and International Justice Mission. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? The tragic loss of a close friend in high school and the unexpected loss of my mother when I was in my twenties. What motivates you to take risks? Knowing that people most regret the chances they didn’t take.
True diversity must include diversity of thought and life experience. Don’t live in a bubble.
What widely held belief do you reject? That anyone who doesn’t vote like I do is either ignorant or evil; that, in either case, they are the enemy. What mega-trend most excites you? The potential of artificial intelligence. What mega-trend most concerns you? The same.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Riding the Waves. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My parents, my grandparents (I did not know either of my grandfathers) and my cousin, George. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A Radio City Rockette. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? Our pets and my iPhone. What advice would you give your younger self? When you know yourself and know your value, you will attract the right people and opportunities. Be kind to others, but don’t be a people pleaser. What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? My twenties. I was much too hard on myself.
Personal motto: The greatest use of your life is to invest it in something that will outlast it. Favorite quote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” (Seneca). Desired epitaph: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).