I met Cynthia when we were both hired to freelance for the New Year’s Eve in Times Square webcast in 2015. We were sitting in a makeshift office trying to get work done when somehow we started talking about her pizza tattoo and our mutual love of Doctor Who. At work Cynthia is hardworking, focused, and determined. She’s not afraid to ask questions and give direction to ensure the best show possible. Outside of work she is hilarious, kind, and will tell it like it is. Whenever she’s in town we always get together (over a couple of slices) and just hang out for hours. Always prepared, she knows more about what’s going on in the city than I ever do and serves as the tour guide. I’m fortunate enough to have crossed that threshold of “work friend” to “real friend” with her. And although she doesn’t own her own business, the passion she has for her work and the pride she holds in her ability make her a boss.
Q: Origin story time – what were you doing before and what led you to this?
A: Retail and office assistant. I was right out of college and on my lunch break, I would take my resume to every tv or radio station, every day until I got a callback. The first TV station I worked at, I listened to a Director and friend, Whitney Mosely. She had recently become a Director, and I thought “She is amazing and magical. She killed it. This is IT! I am in love!” From that day forward, I worked my ass off to become a Director. Went in on off days, worked early and late.
Q: What resources and tools helped you grow professionally? (i.e. Self-learning, school, books, mentors) What would you recommend?
A: School, Professor (Dr. Ron Woods), first boos in television (Dave Mooney), current evening EP (Kip Raley). Willing to go above and beyond to learn and grow. I tried to learn everything I could. Research and network.
Q: Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.
A: Disappointing my producer.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about what you do that isn’t obvious?
A: Seeing others doing the same job for the wrong reasons. They don’t take pride in it. Therefore it is not the best product possible. I care too much. Cliché? Maybe, but it’s true.
Q: Time management – how do you fit it all in?
A: Sleep is very important. Knowing how much you need and giving it to yourself. Recognize that. I contribute my ability to manage my time to lack of coffee and plenty of sleep. I recognize each thing’s importance and can prioritize.
Q: What are some key personality traits needed to do what you do?
A: Extraversion: openness, communicative, excitability, energetic and social. You cannot direct without being able to talk to people and being confident in what you need. You need to know what the hell you’re talking about. You have to have high energy and get excited about what you’re doing. If you can do that, others trust you and follow suit.
Q: Name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional experiences.
A: I worked in New York City. Every good director’s dream. NO! Every good news professional’s dream!
Q: Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in the broadcast television business.
A: You can’t worry about people’s feelings. We are there to alert, inform and empower our viewers. My viewers are very important to me.
Q: In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting a career in live television?
A: In no particular order: 1) Starting at the bottom and working your way up. 2) This job is stressful, be prepared. Live your job AND LOVE your job. 3) This is not an 8 to 5. If you want an 8 to 5, this is not the industry for you. I’ve slept at the station during severe weather. I’ve worked 80 hr weeks during elections. I have held my bladder for hours longer than thought to be humanly possible during breaking news. If you can’t handle it, don’t try to do it.
Q: What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out? (Or a piece of advice you’re glad you ignored?)
A: Worst: “It can’t be done.” NO! I do not accept that! I love proving people wrong. If it’s thought to be impossible, I will spend hours figuring it out. I did not get where I am today by accepting defeat. I also love the look I get from people when I tell them what I do. Southerners are not as accepting of my look as other places.
Q: Which of your traits are you most proud of?
A: Work ethic. I know, I know, cliché again. But it’s true. Others come to me or vent to me because I’ve been in the business for a long time that I’ve dealt with a lot and have always gotten the job done, regardless. No matter what is going on, I do not let it affect me at work. When I am at work, I AM AT WORK.
Cynthia’s refusal to back down or give up is what makes her a Boss! When was a time you would not take no for an answer when it came to achieving a goal? Let us know in the comments below.
For more info on Cynthia, check out her website: