Lizzie Crozier French dedicated her life to improving the standing of women in the world. From her suffragist work to getting women admitted to the University of Tennessee to getting women and men housed separately in the local jail, French sought equality for women on all fronts. This year’s leadership award winner has long used both her professional and personal pursuits to “lift as she climbed.”
The East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council is proud to announce today, on the 163rd birthday of the award’s namesake that Scripps Networks Interactive’s Cynthia Gibson will become the third recipient of the Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award. She will receive the award on Friday, June 13 at the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit. Gibson, who is executive vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at the company, leads the way in professional circles and nonprofit realms promoting women.
During the course of her career, Gibson has experienced many “firsts.” Prior to coming to Knoxville, Gibson was the first female attorney and eventually the first woman managing partner in a Cincinnati, Ohio, law firm. She’s now the first female chief legal officer at Scripps Networks.
“Throughout my career there’ve been many times when I was the only woman in the room,” says Gibson. “I quickly learned that fact made it even more important that I speak up and contribute, and to work hard to ensure soon there were other women in the room too. To me that’s the spirit of this award, which I’m honored to be receiving: that we should all strive to help lift others up while we climb ourselves.”
Today, she is involved with Women in Cable Telecommunications and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. She recently participated in the Women in Cable Telecommunications Senior Executive Summit. Gibson is a member of the Legacy Society of the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee and she chairs the board of directors of United Way Worldwide’s National Women’s Leadership Council and is a founding member and past chairperson of Knoxville’s Women of Tocqueville for United Way.
As with previous recipients (Mayor Madeline Rogero and Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee), Gibson is being awarded “The Lizzie” award to acknowledge her ongoing dedication to the principles set out by the award’s namesake.
Chair of the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council, Wendy Pitts Reeves says, “Each of the women who have been chosen to receive The Lizzie is a leader, not only in her field, but also in recognizing the importance of raising up women. Cynthia Gibson, like Mayor Rogero and Justice Lee, understands how critical it is to our community and to all of East Tennessee to encourage women in all walks of life to bring the very best of themselves to the table every day.”