“I am honored to receive this recognition and grateful to those whose dedicated work in the trenches are lifting up children’s lives through education every day,” says Cynthia Clay Briggs.
Since 2008, Houston Woman Magazine has published a special edition each year featuring Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of the Year.
According to Beverly Denver, publisher of Houston Woman Magazine, “Those selected as Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2015 are individuals who have earned and possess an expertise in a particular field. The thoughts and actions of these women influence the thoughts and actions of others. It is our distinct privilege to be able to introduce these remarkable women to the community.”
An Afternoon Tea, co-hosted by Houston Woman Magazine and Chevron, was held on Sunday, January 11 at the St. Regis Hotel to honor this year’s 50 Women of Influence.
Cynthia Clay Briggs has been with Communities In Schools of Houston, Inc. (CIS) since its inception in 1979. Serving as the organization’s first CIS Social Worker at M.C. Williams Middle School in the Acres Home Community, Cynthia was named CIS Executive Director in 1989. Under Cynthia’s leadership CIS has grown from serving seven schools in 1989 to serving 122 campuses throughout Ft. Bend and Harris County. Thanks to Cynthia’s vision, 104,129 students were served by CIS last year; 98% of CIS case managed students stayed in school.
A fourth-generation native Houstonian, Cynthia has dedicated her life to ensuring children stay in school. CIS Board Member and former First Lady of Texas, Linda Gale White, states that the state and national networks took Ms. Briggs’ lead in changing the organization’s name to Communities In Schools to emphasize the partnerships between the schools and the surrounding communities, “Ms. Briggs truly embodies the mission of CIS, and the strength of the program is a result of her passion for empowering Houston’s children to succeed in school and in life.”
Cynthia earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work and completed her double major Bachelor Degree in Education and Social Work from Xavier University of Louisiana. In addition to serving as CIS Executive Director, Cynthia has served as an Adjunct Professor for the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Houston Education Research Consortium, All Kids Alliance Council of Executives, United Way of Greater Houston Education Council, and the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s National Board of Selectors.
Cynthia has been awarded the Samaritans for All Seasons Award, The Dorothy F. Caram Commitment to Leadership Award, Houston Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter, Hispanic Family Conference’s Hispanic Family Initiative Award, CIS Best of Texas Executive Director of the Year Award, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black Heritage Trailblazer Award, The Rotary Club of West U Vocational Service Award, and was recently recognized by the Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development.
Cynthia is a graduate of Class XIII of Leadership Houston and received the organization’s Patrice Johnson Distinguished Alumni Award. She is also a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum Class XVII.