Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Doing Good is Good Business

I stopped by my friend Cindy’s office today. I enjoy talking to Cindy about her work because she always has a few interesting stories to tell. She knows good stories because she knows her people.
Cindy manages a 118-unit apartment complex in Everett.
I visited to congratulate her on winning the Emerald Award last week (the highest honor given by the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association). At a banquet of 800 people, Cindy was singled out for the Social Awareness Award.
Cindy has distinguished herself as being among the top managers in the industry, with high occupancy rates, profitable operations, and very high results on customer satisfaction surveys. She has done all this while making herself and the property she manages available to people with real disadvantages.
There are properties that get certain subsidies and tax breaks that are mandated to help the helpless… but there are no such mandates for Cindy since her property doesn’t fit such categories (most of her residents are of the run-of-the-mill variety, while around a third are receiving aid due to disabilities). While other landlords might tolerate hurdles that keep folks out, Cindy has been in the business of knocking down hurdles. Sure… it takes a little more time, and paperwork, and patience. It often requires that she builds alliances with various agencies and caregivers, but it has resulted in a healthy community for her residents, as well as a healthy bottom line for her company.
In making the award, her industry took notice of her special efforts last year. Cindy saw that proposed changes in state law could hurt her most disadvantaged residents. So she made her way to Olympia to make her voice heard, and to give a voice to those who otherwise would not have been heard. She did it for the welfare of her residents, but also for the good of the community. The proposed changes would have put many out on the streets, clogging shelters, hospitals, and even jails. With her voice in the mix, legislators opened their eyes and ears, and reconsidered their proposals; the programs that would have jeopardized so many remained intact.
Cindy will tell you that she views her work as a significant part of her calling. She is a capable steward for her company, and also cares for the needs of her residents, including one of the most primal needs: shelter.
If you walk the complex with Cindy, you’ll soon realize that she is providing more than mere shelter; she is providing community. Her people look to her for advice, encouragement, direction, and friendship. She is not just manager; she’s also neighbor, sister, counselor, pastor, teacher, and sometimes even cop.  In all of these roles, she considers it worship… she is caring for God’s creation and creatures with excellence. Cindy embodies what the Apostle encourages in Colossians 3:17, “…whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
I’m really proud of Cindy and glad to call her my friend!


  1. I am loving these stories, it really helps us to get to know each other on a deeper level. I have admired Cindy and the work that she does, but I did not understand the award that she won, I just saw that she won the award. Cindy has such a heart for hurting people and always a welcoming smile for everyone she meets. THANK YOU Cindy for ALL that you do! I pray that someone helps me like you help people when I need it!

  2. I have known Cindy for 30 years, and she has always loved God first with all her heart, all her soul, all her mind, and all her strength, and has then loved everyone else God places in her path, exactly as described in this article. She has been my mentor, counselor, and best friend for many, many years. I know it's possible to do anything the Word asks, because I've seen her live her life out according to God's will on a daily basis, often during the most dire of circumstances. She is truly a light set on a hill.


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