Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award Nominee - Pretty In Pink

Meet Breast-Cancer Survivor Cindy Goldsberry

Cindy GoldsberryOn February 3, 2009, Cindy Goldsberry's life was changed irrevocably. That day, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, an experience that more than 200,000 women and about 2,000 men share every year, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"I've been a survivor since that date," says the vice president of strategic services at Boundless Network (asi/143717) in Austin, TX. "One must declare her survivorship at some point, and I did so that very day. Technically, I've been cancer-free since the end of March 2012 after treatments were complete."

Since her diagnosis and her successful struggle to beat the disease, Goldsberry now appreciates the little things and disregards minor stressors. "I've realized that people and the time spent with them are precious," she says. "The things that we stress about really don't matter. I've learned that our mental and emotional well-being at any given moment greatly impacts our physical well-being. I wish I could sprinkle that knowledge directly into folks' brains."

Goldsberry has also been more eager to take personal and professional risks because of her newfound appreciation of time. "I now jump into certain opportunities and don't necessarily wait for the perfect time," she says. This past year, she finished writing a book, called Zfactor Sales Accelerator V2V: From Vendor to Value Creator, that is now offered on and for the Kindle. "It's all about creating value for customers, and it shares a thinking framework and methodology for changing our results," she says. "I included real success stories from folks in our industry. What a joy it's been to give myself permission to write it and have fun sharing it."

When not writing and fulfilling her professional responsibilities, Goldsberry participates in cancer awareness events, including the Susan G. Komen Walks in Houston and Austin. In the latter, 20 colleagues participated and wore T-shirts with the names of survivors. "There's no way to describe ending the race and walking through the Survivor line," she says. "The Survivor pavilion with booths by all the sponsors is stunning. Don't think for a moment all the pink stuff is wasted – we do wear it all!"

As for the advertising specialty industry, Goldsberry says awareness items should also honor those who have survived, so they can "spread hope and tell their story." Personalizing items with survivors' names, no matter what disease has been beaten, makes the triumph real and connects clients' brands to the cause.

"Companies who focus on what this really means," says Goldsberry, "and aren't just buying pink or yellow stuff because ‘it's that time of year' will leverage their branding efforts toward these causes. Go deep with meaning, not broad to hop on the pink train. This is why we as promotional consultants should understand the client's brand and merchandise, as well as the cause and product metaphors that represent them best."

Since beating her disease, Goldsberry is, now more than ever, supportive of everyone taking risks and pursuing their dreams … now. "Don't wait for a health issue to give you reasons to go for it," she says. "Where I might once have been more tentative about sharing my experiences in life and sales, I'm not any longer."