During Women’s History Month we like to introduce the world to some of our innovative female leaders here at Endicott College. Our Director, Internship, Cindy Richard is a leader in more than one way. In her role at the Internship and Career Center, she helps our Gulls navigate toward their dreams, but in her off-time, she pursues other private ones of her own.
Richard is not boastful. No, instead, she models quiet, powerful confidence. In fact, many people who have worked with her for years may be unaware of what an incredibly talented artist she is. We learned about her creative side by complete happenstance.
Last week, we noticed that our Marketing Coordinator for the Van Loan School of Professional Studies, Rosemary Poppe had a beautiful, illustrated wall calendar displayed in her office, and when we asked her who made it, she explained that Richard made a new one every year. At that point we knew that we had to learn more about her as an artist, a leader, and a woman.
“I believe in the power of imagination. It is the beginning of everything we hope to achieve, and I try to make use of my imagination on a daily basis.”
Q&A with Richard
How did you get to this point in your career–what did the path look like (Director, Internship and artist)?
I actually worked in human resources for two big corporations, Anheuser Busch and Pepsi Bottling Group prior to coming to Endicott. I was exposed to college students when I held recruitment events at various colleges and participated in the hiring process once students became interested in our companies. That influenced my decision to make the transition to higher education. I also worked for Clark University as a career counselor in its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
I began my art career after I started working at Endicott. I always loved the creative and performing arts (I would spend most of my weekends visiting museums, and attending art shows and festivals), but I never really thought of making my own art. However, after a visit to the National Museum of American Illustration (Newport, R.I.) in July 2015, I decided to attend a drawing class at the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). I took six classes on the weekends, and at the end of it, I had a great foundation in drawing.
I just kept practicing after that class. I participated in a 365-day art project on Instagram in 2017 where I posted one piece of art each day during that year—that changed everything for me. I learned what I like and don't like, developed my style, and started to find lots of great illustrators to follow on the platform. I was also selected to be the Dreamer for Jolie Tea in 2017 and they provided me with a place to work on plans for my future business, plus gave me free tea and pastries whenever I came to work at the tea shop. By the end of 2018, I had a great business plan, and I launched my art business on January 1, 2018.
What are some of your strengths?
Creativity, strategic planning, organization, and curiosity/love of learning.
What do you believe strongly?
I believe in the power of imagination. It is the beginning of everything we hope to achieve, and I try to make use of my imagination on a daily basis. I love being creative! The images that I produce are all made up in my head—there is a fictional art colony that I've made up called Peacock Mountain. I will look at references that I find from Pinterest to help me flesh out the details once I get an idea in my head, but my illustrations are rarely based on real people, places, or events.
What is one thing you think that most people don't know about you?
That I have other creative talents. I played the drums for eight years while I was in school and I know how to salsa dance (I learned that while I was in college and I have been doing it ever since). I also enjoy creative writing and photography.
What is your proudest achievement?
Having one of my paintings selected last year to be exhibited in the Beverly Main Streets exhibit featured in our Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts. It was a juried show, so there were a lot of people that did not get selected, and I was happy to be one of the artists chosen.
How do you start your day?
I start my day with tea and meditation (for 30 minutes). Then I sketch for about 30 minutes, and paint for about one hour before getting ready for work.
Where do you make your art and what are your favored materials?
I set up a studio in my living room, so I have a room dedicated to my creative pursuits. I have a glass table where I sketch and paint, and a comfy couch plus a table where I journal and read. I am also an avid reader—I have books in every room of my house (including inside the kitchen cabinets) and my studio is no exception; there are books on every wall in my art studio.
When did you begin making art and selling it?
I started making art in 2015, but I didn't start selling it until 2018. I am mostly self-taught, so I gave myself that time to learn and develop before I started to sell.
Tell us a little bit about yourself/your leadership role as a staff/team member here at Endicott.
I have been the Director of Internship at Endicott for about seven years. I love helping students to figure out what they want to do with their careers. It is a big decision, and our students have a great opportunity to try out three different internships before deciding on their careers (or at least, the first careers they will have upon graduation). I take care of a lot of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the internship program—policies and procedures, evaluations, curriculum changes, marketing, working closely with internship faculty on various aspects of the program, and liaising with the career center on programming/events. I also teach a section of Semester Internship Strategies.
What does it mean to you to be a woman staff/team member at Endicott?
It means being surrounded by other smart and capable women who are always willing to help each other, and it means being part of community committed to preparing the next generation of professionals.
How do you feel empowered as a woman leader here at Endicott?
As someone who is creative, I have always felt that my ideas have been heard and considered, and in a lot of cases, implemented. Endicott is entrepreneurial, so the College is always open to new ideas.
Why do you think it's important for women to support other women?
I think women are all better off if we support each other. I come from the mindset that there is enough for everyone to succeed—enough resources, enough money, and enough ideas just to name a few.
What are three things everyone should know about you?
- I am a member of the Beverly Cultural Council.
- I organized meetings for the Endicott Book Club for a few years (they are still in operation).
- I have a website and Etsy shop for my art.
Ever the kind person, Richard would like to end her own feature by thanking others who have helped her succeed. She says, “I would like to thank a few members of the Endicott community that have been especially supportive of my art career: Dierdre Sartorelli—for including me in The District and holding wonderful trunk shows so that members of the Endicott community can sell their work on campus, Dan Sklar—for featuring my work in the Endicott Review a few times, and Michael Miller—for giving me great advice about preparing for art shows and photography tips.”