AT&T executive Cynt Marshall talks technology

Photo provided by Cynt Marshall

Name: Cynt Marshall

Title: SVP HR and Chief Diversity Officer

Organization: AT&T

Role: SVP Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer

What qualifications, education and skills prepared you for this job?
My education was the foundation for my success and advancement. I have degrees from UC-Berkeley in business administration and human resources management. I’ve always taken on new challenges enthusiastically, and that’s helped me become fearless. I haven’t been afraid to fail; I’ve learned from setbacks, kept my perspective and tried again. I have a deep appreciation for mentorship and have had some wonderful champions in my career.

What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
• Excel in your position with an endless desire to take on new challenges and learn continuously. In every position, decide you’re going to truly move the needle on what you’re doing and settle for nothing less. Make your efforts measurable. Also, think about future needs and be insatiably curious. To understand is to ask questions. Be like a kindergartner! Ask why? Ask how? And don’t ever stop asking.
• Seek mentorships with leaders you respect inside and outside your company and pay it forward by being a mentor yourself.
• Protect what’s important to you. Love people, bring passion and have purpose.
And I have a fourth important factor –
• When starting your career, do your homework and choose a company that has a strong history of diversity and inclusion. The company’s values should ideally mirror your own values.

How has technology changed the way you approach your work?
With my smartphone and tablet, I keep more projects moving and get more out of each day. I can stay connected to leadership, peers and my HR3D team anywhere, anytime. This includes when I travel, as if I were in the office. So, in that sense, technology has definitely made me more efficient. Less paperwork, more electronics.

Who or what motivates you and why?
I am motivated by what I believe is a higher purpose in life: God’s calling on my life to make a difference.

What advice do you wish to offer other women that are seeking a similar career path?
• Be flexible because you will always find there are twists and turns you don’t expect as you navigate through your job.
• Be willing to learn new skills. As you grow in your career, continue to learn from others who you consider great leaders.
• Seek out a mentor or a champion who will give you unvarnished, candid advice and counsel, and who will stand up for you and take you under her wing.
• Build your “personal brand.” That means marketing yourself. You want to show your best self, and demonstrate to the employer why you are a great choice.

If you could talk to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell her?
I would tell myself what I told myself: you will find yourself in amazing places doing amazing things. Always remember where you came from and that you are here to serve. I would also tell myself not to worry about the material things you don’t have and stay focused on the riches that really matter.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? Why?
That every child would get a great education. A good public education is the foundation for my success.

Name a book/books that changed how you see life and you recommend to others.
Power of Nice How to conquer the business world with kindness, by Linda Kaplan and Robin Koval.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Hershey with almonds bar

If you could have theme music, what would it be?
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

Favorite quote or words of wisdom.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

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