Over the last dozen years, Cindy McConkey has drawn on the combination of a strong background in journalism and public relations consulting in directing the Corporate Communications group for Scripps Networks Interactive, the company behind the popular lifestyle networks HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. In that role, she was responsible for the development and supervision of strategic, integrated communications programs for Scripps Networks Interactive including reputation management, media relations, social responsibility, employee communications, government relations, speakers’ bureau, event marketing and marketing and creative services. In addition, she supported the company in regard to financial communications and business media matters.
In 2013, McConkey shifted her focus to work solely on the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy: Change the World – One Meal, One Home, One Community at a time. In this role, she directs the strategic giving and philanthropic activity of Scripps Networks Interactive, which is tied closely to the brands’ lifestyle categories of home, food and travel, as well as building stronger communities where the company does business.
McConkey joined Scripps Networks after a distinguished, 15-year tenure as a public relations and marketing consultant, serving clients such as Club Corporation of America, BellSouth, Whittle Communications, Pizza Hut, Mead Paper, Carrier Corporation, Comcast Cable, Rohm and Haas Company and many others. A journalist by training, McConkey was a reporter at USA TODAY in Washington, D.C., establishing herself as one of the first female journalists to cover the national sports scene. Her past experience also includes writing for Gannett News Service and the Associated Press, among other publications. While working for Gannett, McConkey received a national award for investigative reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors Association. During that time, she was also named a Woman of Achievement by the University of Tennessee.
Since joining Scripps Networks, her work has garnered numerous awards, ultimately earning her recognition as one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by CableFAX magazine and as 2012 Woman of the Year in Media and Entertainment by the National Association of Professional Women. McConkey also was recognized in 2008-09 as a Princeton Premier Business Leader and Professional. Several of the pro-social initiatives she directs have been honored by the Urban League, Goodwill Industries, Association of Fundraising Professionals and Telecommunications Association Public Service Awards.
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, McConkey currently serves on the board of directors of the Association of Cable Communications, the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications’ Board of Visitors, Healthier Tennessee Commission, and the Knoxville YWCA. She also serves on the planning committees for the NCTA National Cable Show and the Women in Cable Television Leadership Conference. She also is a current member of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. Prior involvements have included serving three years on the Scripps-Howard Foundation Board of Trustees and the four years as the Governor’s appointee to the Tennessee Board of Economic Growth. She has been active in the Society of Professional Journalists, American Marketing Association and the Public Relations Society of America.
McConkey is a graduate of the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and also has completed the CTAM Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School, as well as numerous other leadership programs.