Emory Report
November 3, 2008
Volume 61, Number 10

Next up: Kickball
at Candler Cup
Cindy Bryant will head back to the field to do battle for the coveted Candler Cup. Bryant is assistant coach for the President’s Office team, who will take on the Provost’s Office in kickball on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at
3:30 p.m. in the Quad.


Emory Report homepage  

November 3
, 2008
A good sport

By Patti Ghezzi

Most days, Cindy Bryant stays busy helping trustees get information they need. But not long ago, she got to boss President Jim Wagner around as co-captain of an employee softball team.

Bryant, executive assistant to the vice president and secretary of the University, was also her team’s pitcher in a tightly contested game against students.

“We lost by one run,” she laments. “The student’s team scored four runs in the last inning. We were done in by errors on our part, but, whatever, it was fun.”

Bryant loves it when her passion for sports intersects with her career in administration. “With my competitive nature, it’s perfect,” says Bryant, who bowls, plays tennis and a little flag football.

“Anything that requires good hand-eye coordination, I’m usually pretty good at,” she says. “Sports are good for bonding. If you’re in a team environment, it helps you come together.”

When collaborating on the planning of a retreat for the Board of Trustees recently, Bryant organized a tennis tournament as an alternative for participants who didn’t want to play golf. Several of the trustees’ wives enthusiastically signed up. “That really worked out,” Bryant says.

Those who know her praise Bryant for her big heart, which she displays when she encourages a colleague to take tennis lessons and when she cracks a joke to lighten a stressful situation.

“You have to be able to laugh,” Bryant says. “I wouldn’t say I’m an extrovert, but when you’re upbeat, people want to be around you.”

She makes it a point to smile even when she’s on the phone. “People can hear it in your voice,” she says.
Bryant grew up in Atlanta and earned a business management and accounting degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. She got her first professional job as a stenographer at North Carolina State University.

Bryant returned to Atlanta in 1988 to be close to her mother, Elaine Jones, whom she describes as a “social butterfly.” From there Bryant worked in many different jobs from office manager to commercial real estate paralegal. She eventually landed as an executive assistant to a chief information officer. “I’ve had so many careers, and it always equips you for the next thing,” she says.

Before her death in 2003, her mother encouraged Bryant to leave the stressful corporate world and return to academia.

The following year, Bryant had a chance to take her mother’s advice. She went to work at Emory College, assisting Rosemary Magee, then senior associate dean for resources and planning. Magee was named vice president and secretary of the University in 2005. She encouraged Bryant to apply for her current position, “and the rest is history,” Bryant says.

Being back in the academic environment she loves feels like coming full circle. “The students are so knowledgeable,” she says. “I just love to soak it all in.”

She takes advantage of on-campus seminars and attends sporting events to show her Emory spirit. She serves on the Employee Council. She and her colleagues share an interest in writing and reading.

At first, Bryant was intimidated by the idea of working with the trustees, but they bonded easily over shared Southern roots. She takes pride in supporting them as they set the course for the University. She is especially helpful when it comes to events. “They’ll call me and say, ‘Cindy, I got this in the mail, do you know what this is all about?’” Bryant says. “Usually I do, but if I don’t, I can find out.”

Bryant thrives in the hectic environment. “We’re the Office of the Secretary, but we’re under the Office of the President,” she says. “Our offices work hand-in-hand.”

She enjoys the flexibility her career in administration has afforded her. “You get to do a little bit of a lot of things,” she says. “In this position, you get a complete overview of the University, and I love it.”