I really loved the CBU experience that allowed me to take classes in 8-week semesters, given my short attention span. I’m not sure that I would have made it otherwise, since I was working full-time, in school full-time, and a full-time mom.

Cynthia Bradford was employed at Leadership Memphis as Assistant Director of Programs when she started her nearly decade-long pursuit of a college degree at CBU. In that position, she developed community engagement programs for leaders across the city, consulted on diversity and team building, and customized behind-the-scenes tours for new executives to the city. She started out majoring in Chemical Engineering because her teachers had told her that there was a need for more black female engineers. “They observed my love for math and chemistry and guided me in that direction,” she recalls. “But, as an engineering major, you had to be exact. There were no gray lines. And I’m such an on-the-fence kind of person that gray lines appeal more to me.”

Cynthia originally switched her major to Pre-Law and then to Finance, but credits Dr. Kristin Prien, now a retired Professor of Management, for helping her choose her final major. “Dr. Prien helped me realize after changing my major for the fourth time to Business that I was finally in the right major. Her answer to almost every question was ‘it depends,’ and I just LOVED that about her!! She quickly became ‘my person,’ and I took a good majority of classes from her. She is my best memory of CBU.”

Following her graduation from CBU with a BSBA in 2004, Cynthia took a new job with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation — where she still works today, in the position of System Community and Government Relations Manager. In that position, she oversees the charitable giving and community outreach across the Midsouth region and is also responsible for Community Health Needs Assessments and Community Benefit compliance. Her signature community initiative is Baptist Operation Outreach, in partnership with Christ Community Health Services, which provides free primary and acute care — include dental, vision and behavioral health support — to individuals experiencing homelessness. Throughout her career, Cynthia has been recognized for her leadership and community service with awards including the Corporate Neighbor Award from Volunteer Memphis, the “Top 50 Women in Memphis Who Make a Difference” by Memphis Woman magazine, the “Top 40 Under 40 Award” presented by the Memphis Business Journal, the “Faces of Memphis” by StyleBluePrint, and the Diversity Champion Award from the Tennessee Hospital Association. She has completed the Leadership Memphis Executive Program and coursework from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Leadership Academy, and she will receive her Master of Health Administration from Louisiana State University at Shreveport in December 2022.

Cynthia currently serves on the boards of the Girl Scout Council of the Mid-South, the Center for Transforming Communities (as Vice Chair and Chair of the Governance Committee), and the Memphis Library Foundation. She is also a current member of the Shelby County Schools Parent and Community Engagement Committee. She has previously served on numerous committees and community projects, which include the Shelby County School District Charter Quality School Compact Advisory Committee Chair, on the Memphis Catholic High School Board of Directors, the Plough Foundation’s Shelby County Elder Abuse and Maltreatment Community Response Initiative, the Common Table Health Alliance, on the Memphis Housing Authority’s Seek to Serve Program, and the Advisory Committee for Friends of Shelby Farms Park.

I appreciated the faith-based values of CBU and ironically ended up working for a business that is also faith-based. I’ve learned to follow your passion and what comes natural, what supports your ‘best you,” and it’s like never working a day in your life. I also appreciate CBU for recognizing its alumni in unique ways. Definitely a good way to celebrate the value of a CBU education.