President, Broadcast Group. SVP, Human Resources, The New York Times Co. • New York, N.Y.
A senior executive at one of the nation’s biggest and most venerable newspaper companies, Cynthia Augustine believes in embracing life “with all the love and courage [I] can muster.” It’s no surprise, then, that Augustine, president of The New York Times Co.’s Broadcast Group and senior vice president, human resources, of the The New York Times Co. cherishes the words of Brazilian poet Joao Cruz e Souza: “Dance as though no one is watching; love as though you have never been hurt before; sing as though no one can hear you; love as though heaven is on Earth.” A supportive family, especially her mother and husband, encourage her fearless attitude. “Both have always reinforced that there isn’t anything that I can’t achieve if I want it, and to have faith and intelligence,” says the Columbus, Ohio, native.
Augustine graduated from Sara Lawrence College in 1972 and from Rutgers University’s law school in 1982. At the Times Co. she is responsible for all human resources functions, including compensation and benefits, diversity, employee relations and organizational development. She first joined the company as a lawyer, handling employment, labor relations and employee benefits, but left to become a partner at the law firm Sabin, Bermant and Gould LLP. She returned to the Times five years later, abandoning the practice of law altogether. “Leaving first the Times Co. then my law firm entailed walking away from good jobs, job security and work that I liked,” Augustine says. “Not being afraid to take risks gives you choices in life, and that is liberating. I think risk taking is simply vital to self-confidence, freedom and, frankly, a life well lived.”
Her mentors at the Broadcast Group are Solomon B. Watson, the general counsel and her former manager, and Russ Lewis, the Broadcast Group’s CEO, to whom she now reports, she says. Watson “gave me advice on how to be successful at the Times,” while Lewis “gave me opportunities I never would have thought of for myself,” she says.