Cynthia Brinkley


Leadership, Diversity and a Commitment to Community

As a former executive with Centene Corp., General Motors and AT&T, Cindy Brinkley will share more than 30 years of executive experience. Cindy has led at the local, national and international level in business operations, mergers and acquisitions, integrations, government relations, talent development and diversity and inclusion, while giving back to the communities she has worked in. Join Cindy for a whirlwind 30-minute session as she shares her leadership lessons and her commitment to community.  



Cynthia Brinkley is an experienced executive and board director recognized at the state and national level for her accomplishments in the corporate, public, educational, and not-for-profit sectors. Her experience spans highly regarded blue chip corporations and civic organizations as well as multiple disciplines including P&L management, human resources, talent development, culture change, acquisition integration, public and regulatory/legislative affairs, and general business leadership.

Most recently, Cynthia was Centene Corporation's Chief Administrative and Markets Officer, where she oversaw market operations and P&L, government relations, international operations, transformation efforts for the company, and business integration activities. During her four-year plus tenure at Centene, the company grew from $20 billion in revenues to nearly $80 billion.

Prior to Centene, Cynthia was Vice President of Global Human Resources for General Motors. There, as chief human resources officer, she led the GM post-bankruptcy team in transforming the corporation's human capital model, developing its talent strategy, and in recruiting critical new talent to lead GM into the future.

Prior to GM, Cynthia was Senior Vice President, Talent Development & Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T where she drove companywide culture change and alignment across multiple operating units following the company's acquisitions. She led the creation of AT&T University, a world-class, innovative and award- winning set of campuses and curriculum that reaches over 100,000 managers annually and received recognition by Chief Learning Officer magazine for AT&T as the top company overall for aligning learning and development with business performance. Also under Cynthia's leadership, AT&T ranked in the top five on DiversityInc's "Top Companies for Diversity."

Cynthia began her corporate career at Southwestern Bell in 1986 where she progressed through a variety of communications, public affairs, and merger integration roles as the company grew and subsequently became SBC (and later AT&T). She went on to serve as SBC's Executive Director-Federal Relations and then President of SBC-Arkansas and President of SBC/AT&T-Missouri. In these roles she was instrumental in bringing about significant favorable regulatory and legislative changes while also improving the overall business climate and contributing to SBC's top and bottom line growth.

Parallel to her corporate career, Cynthia has had a deep longstanding dedication to community and has held leadership roles or otherwise actively participated in over 25 notable civic, public, educational, and non- profit organizations. Currently, she is Vice Chair of the Nine Network, Vice Chair of the St. Louis Zoo Commission, and chairs the Governance and Nominating Committee for Forest Park Forever. She also sits on the boards of Ameren, Schnucks Markets, Inc. and Energizer.

Cynthia has also served as Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as Co-Chair of the University of Missouri Billion Dollar Fundraising Campaign, as Chair of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, as Chair of the Hawthorn Foundation of Missouri (a multi-sector non-profit supporting economic development), and as Co-Chair of the Missouri Governor's Business Education Roundtable.

Among Cynthia's many recognitions, she was named a Woman of Influence by Webster University, awarded Coro's John H. Poelker Leadership Award, named Arkansas Business Leader of the Year, and was one of 50 business leaders selected by the Secretary of Defense to review world-wide military operations. She is also a frequent speaker at conferences, universities, and corporate events.

Cynthia holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a bachelor's degree in political science from Truman State University. She currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri.