Illinois is often at odds with itself. With roughly 75% of the state consisting of farmland, it’s easy to think of the state as flat land surrounded by crops. But Illinois is also home to Chicago. Known as the Second City, the Windy City, and the City of Big Shoulders, Chicago’s population and resources make it a force to be reckoned with. Juxtaposed between the people and the products sits one of Illinois’ crown jewels: its manufacturing capabilities.
It is those manufacturing capabilities where Cynthia L Tomei, CAE, comes in.
Supporting Women & Manufacturing Growth
Cindy has spent most of her career supporting manufacturing/industrial companies in Illinois. As the Vice President of Membership Growth & Engagement for the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA), she currently works directly with manufacturers to understand their needs and to create programs that help them succeed.
Success is important for any company, but Cindy also saw an opportunity to help a group that needed a bit of a boost. She and her team started a manufacturing group aimed at providing opportunities for women in manufacturing to expand their peer network, develop leadership skills, and serve as mentors/role models for young women considering careers in manufacturing.
According to the person who nominated her, Cindy has been “A conduit for young women securing jobs and internships in manufacturing careers.”
As part of the statewide program, Cindy serves as a mentor for female college students and graduates in their pursuit of careers in manufacturing as well as meeting with groups of high school and middle school-aged girls get them involved in STEM activities (pre-COVID).
A visionary strategist
Cindy joined the IMA team in January 2017 after serving as president of a regional manufacturing trade association for 10 years. Within that time, she’s redefined the strategic direction of the association as well as built a successful team to implement the steps needed to fulfill that plan. Among her many strengths, she’s a great team-builder, public speaker and program developer. She is a visionary strategist focused on continual improvement and her own personal development.
She currently leads the Membership & Programming teams of the IMA as well as serving on the board of 101 Best and Brightest Companies in Chicagoland.
Throughout all of her hard work and dedication to the state of Illinois and the manufacturers she’s supported, one thing has remained consistent: She’s never felt like she didn’t belong.
Her contribution to the 2020 Influential Women in Manufacturing E-Book reminds all of us how important it is to remain true to yourself and what you bring to the table.