Former Scripps Networks communications chief Cindy McConkey Cox died Thursday after a long illness.
McConkey Cox joined Scripps Networks in 2001 as senior vice president of Corporate Communications after 15 years at Knoxville, Tenn.-based Ackermann Public Relations & Marketing. She took an early retirement from Scripps in 2014, about a year after she was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer, according to a 2016 report in the Knoville News Sentinel. She is survived by her husband, two daughters and two grandchildren.
“In her nearly 15 years with us at Scripps Networks, Cindy was a standout leader and friend," Scripps Networks chairman and CEO Ken Lowe said in a statement. "She had a reputation for speaking her mind with conviction, having a tireless work ethic, and taking care of business. But as a respected colleague, she was so much more. Cindy was generous with her time and her friendship, serving as a mentor to many. She endeared herself not only to those within our company and our community, but throughout the entire cable television industry.
"We were devastated as we stood by her side when she told us of her cancer diagnosis and have anxiously followed along with her journey since then," Lowe continued. "And we were not surprised to see her tackle her disease with hope, determination and grace, in typical Cindy fashion. We are heartbroken to say goodbye to Cindy but everyone whose path crossed with hers at Scripps Networks Interactive is truly grateful to have known her.”
Before joining the cable industry, McConkey Cox was a ground-breaking journalist covering national sports for USA Today in the 1980s.
She joined Random Acts of Flowers, a Knoxville-based non-profit company whose volunteers convert donated flowers into bouquets and deliver them to people in health care facilities across the country, as chief operations officer and chief marketing officer in 2016.
“I cannot begin to express how devastated we are as a team,” Random Acts of Flowers founder and CEO Larsen Jay said on the company’s website. “Cindy was a guiding light in our organization since her first day in April 2016. Within our organization she was known as a brilliant communicator, a strategic thinker, and someone who always put others above herself. Thoughtful, warm, and ‘one tough cookie’ is how her closest friends describe Cindy.
“Our love for Cindy is hard to put into words,” Jay continued. “Her loss is profound. We will miss her deeply but we are also grateful our team could share so many meaningful personal and professional milestones with this wonderful woman.”