Considering the odds, Cynthia Canteen-Harbor should not be a senior technical program manager completing enormous data projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For one thing, she’s a woman in a male-dominated industry; for another, she was raised poor by a single mother of six in a rural Gullah community in South Carolina. Yet here she is, increasing the number of hospitals who provide healthcare data to the CDC by nearly thirtyfold and saving lives in the process. “This information is keeping people healthy,” says the forty-one-year-old mother of four.
Canteen-Harbor was the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from Shaw University with a degree in mass communication, then attended graduate school for journalism at The University of Iowa. It was her fierce writing skills that attracted a dot-com company in Atlanta to hire her in the nineties because “so few applicants could string together a sentence,” according to her then-boss, James Landrum. She’s worked her way up in technology ever since.
“I want to light pathways for younger women coming behind me,” Canteen-Harbor says. As such, she’s made time to mentor females on her team, volunteer with Women in Technology, and launch the Faith Hope Love Mom’s Conference. She has beaten the odds, and she wants others to know they can do the same.
Words of Wisdom