As president and chief operating officer, Cindi has overall strategic and operational responsibility for INNOVIM, a leading innovator in the fields of science, engineering and data management. She provides experienced leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure INNOVIM has the effective operational controls and personnel in place to bring about new growth and ensure financial strength and operational efficiency.
Prior to joining INNOVIM, Cindi worked at Integral Systems, enabling civil and military satellite mission planning and operations and providing program management over large U.S. Air Force programs. She also managed the Landsat 7 Mission Operations Center as program manager for Computer Sciences Corporation. Cindi has 30+ years of experience in software development, satellite operations ground system support, proposal and program management.
Cindi holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Statistics from George Washington University. She is also a member of the National Association of Professional Women.
1. How do you define success?
Success is defined as reaching your goals, whatever they may be.
2. What is the key to success?
The key to success is hard work, self-confidence, willingness to change, ability to communicate, and more hard work.
3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Yes, but not necessarily in a business sense. I have always had the ability to listen to what people are saying, and help them through their concerns or problems by just talking it through. My children refer to me as their “voice of reason.” In fact, I started my college education with the intention of majoring in psychology, but I changed to computer science once I realized how much I enjoyed solving problems via computer programs. So, I learned how to combine my ability to relate to people with my problem solving abilities, and the synergy of the two has definitely helped me become successful.
4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
What pushes me forward is knowing that many successful people had to overcome significant adversities before they succeeded. People such as Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Beethoven, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Benjamin Franklin all learned from their adversities and then used their life-learning lessons to become successful contributors to society.
5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To really enjoy something, you first have to experience how it feels to not have what you are enjoying. For instance, the only way you can really enjoy winning a sporting event is if you have already experienced the pain of losing that sporting event. Or to really enjoy a beautiful day of weather, you first have to experience a really bad day of weather.
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and friends, and I love taking pictures of our get-togethers. I refer to it as “capturing memories,” and plan on someday writing a book about the importance of capturing memories with pictures and stories. I want my children and grandchildren to be able to experience my experiences, not just see pictures of them.
7. What makes a great leader?
A great leader must be a good communicator, a good decision maker, and be able to make the difficult decisions while keeping perspective on what is really important.
8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Don’t be afraid to show initiative and express your ideas in a respectful, but convincing way.
But most important, remember that your way of providing a solution should not be presented as the only way to solve the problem, but rather presented as a way to solve the problem.
This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.