Cindi Bigelow

This entry is part 4 of 54 in the series

Bigelow_CindiCindi Bigelow

Bigelow Tea
President since 2005

Years with company:
26 years

 

 

Education degrees:

  • BS in Marketing, Boston College
  • MBA, Marketing and Finance, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Professional/volunteer organizations:

  • Started Annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge, raising over $700,000 since 1988 for the benefit of locally-based charities.
  • Spearheaded the building in 1996, and continue to oversee the maintenance of Sandcastle Playground, a $150,000, 12,000-square-foot, wooden village playground that continues to be a focal point for children in the community.
  • Annual Habitat for Humanity, Kennedy Center’s Adopt-a-Home and Appalachian project volunteer.
  • Annually speaks to high school and college students about business and business ethics.
  • Leads the company’s greening efforts resulting in five-year reductions of nearly 6.5 million kWh electricity, 800,000 gallons water, 1,400 tons solid waste and 1.7 million cubic feet natural gas.
  • Served on the Bridgeport and Fairfield YMCA Boards of Directors, Boston College Board of Alumni, Bridgeport Regional Council Board and Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Committee.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
In life and in business, my number one mentor has always been my father, David, followed closely by my mother Eunice.  David is an amazing listener who is both kind and extremely intelligent.  His love for the employees, actually the love of both my parents for the employees, influences all our decisions in this company.  My father has always been the great listener and my mother is the great communicator.  He is a man filled with warmth and wisdom.  My mother was the one who taught me to always talk things through.  They both also taught me that family comes first. My sister and I always knew we were their priority.  I have tried very much to do the same with my children.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I am most proud of how I have been able to bridge old and new.   Taking over a family company can be very difficult (that is why statistically only 3% of family businesses make it to the third generation).  I believe it is only after you truly understand the history of the company can you successfully transition it to the next level, and I worked hard to honor and learn the culture and key influences of the generation from which I was to take the baton. I am delighted to say we are the number one specialty tea company in this country.  All that I have done to influence that was based on honoring what first put this company on the map.

Most challenging part of your job:
Every day I realize that the success of this organization rests on my shoulders.  I have 330 families dependant on this company.  The responsibility never goes away…..I feel it constantly.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Realize that you are like a bottle of wine, you need time to reach your potential. Time is your friend.  Drive is important but so is time and you need to find that balance to develop leadership skills and vision.  I smile when I look back at the impetuous young woman I was when I started at age 25 versus who I am today.  I like what time has done for me.

Hobbies:
What I like doing most is being with my children, skiing, tennis, a little bit of yoga and drinking lots and lots of tea!