My BEST Life: Cynthia Gravino

mybestlifeCynthia Gravino

Associate Vice President, Collaborative Enterprises
Ringling College of Art & Design

Gravino’s Collaborative Enterprises department at Ringling College helps students bridge the journey between academic life and the working world. With an impressive business career, a history of academic innovations and a MBA under her belt, she is a shining example of a woman who gets the job done and enjoys the ride.



How have you seen the academic world change? 

The biggest change I have seen is the interaction levels of parents with their students.  There are numerous publications and reports on “helicopter parents.”  This is a phenomenon that does impact the way in which we engage students, as well as their parents, in an academic setting.

What challenges have you faced in your professional life that you had not anticipated?
My roles throughout my career have focused on bringing about change and innovation to organizations that are stale in their approach and day-to-day operations.  As such, I embrace and welcome change.  That being said, I am always surprised at the level of fear  other professionals perceive when change is presented.  As each organization has its own culture and the human condition affects the work place in ways that cannot always be accurately anticipated, change integration can, at times, become more exciting than anticipated.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Believe in yourself more.

Do you think having it “ALL” is  possible for women?
Having it all is not a relative thing and I don’t believe it to be gender dependent.  It is a journey rather than a destination but should have certain characteristics such as self-confidence, financial security, meaningful relationships, and a life in balance.

How do you think women can support each other better?
Be positive with one another, regardless of environment.

Never underestimate the value of patience and perseverance

What would you most like to say to young women on your campus?
Follow your passion and dreams and do not let anything get in the way of reaching for what you desire for your life – both personally and professionally.  And never underestimate the value of patience and perseverance.

Who are the people who inspired you in life, and why?
My parents.  They are amazing people who have gone through incredibly difficult times and have stayed together in marriage more than 50 years.

What was your first or favorite car you ever owned?
My first car was a Jeep CJ.  Since I have pretty much owned a Jeep 4×4 product my entire adult life, and still own a Jeep, I think it is safe to say that Jeep four wheelers are my favorite cars.

WhatDreamsMayCome_1What is your favorite book, movie or song?
My favorite book is the Bible (I can, and do, read it over and over).

My favorite movie is “What Dreams May Come.”

My favorite song is “Caruso” as sung by Andrea Bocelli.

Top songs on your playlist today?
Right now, I am reliving the 70s.  All of it, including Disco!  My Sirius XM is glued to the 70s station.

What do you need to do more of in life?
Travel the world and visit my friends and family who live in different states.

What might surprise people about you? A personality traits or habit?

That I really am a hopeless romantic.


For more information about Ringling College of Art & Design visit


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