Meet Cindy! Houston Furniture Bank’s Greatest Chef, Source of Knowledge, and Hardest Person to Find!
One of the most repeated questions at Houston Furniture Bank is “where is Cindy?” She is highly coveted and needed by at least two people at any given time. Cindy works in almost every department. Her title is Mattress Sales Lead, but she can also be found working in the Furniture Outlet, front of the warehouse, back of the warehouse, and Furniture Distribution Center. Cindy goes wherever she’s needed and is always willing to lend a helping hand. In her own words, Cindy says, “I like working with all these crazy people, I go everywhere. Everyone has their own department to work in, but I’m the type of person who will go to your department and learn what you do so when you’re not here one day, I can take over and help out.” When I first started working at Houston Furniture Bank, Cindy helped show me the ropes. She is one of the nicest and hardest working women I know. She is also famous for her banana bread and various treats she brings in to share. She is the kind of coworker everyone in the office gets along with.
How Cindy made herself a mattress expert…
Cindy has been working at Houston Furniture Bank for two years. In that short amount of time, Cindy has taught herself all there is to know about mattresses. As the Mattress Sales Lead, she knows all of the components and materials that go into making a mattress as well as the associated costs. She knows the various sizes and thickness of foam and she can list off materials that I didn’t even know existed, let alone went into a mattress. She works with 15 different vendors to order the materials our mattress builders need to complete their orders and make beds for the families we serve.
Cindy has three notebooks that are full of notes she took when she was first learning about mattress building. I asked her how long it took her to learn all of the information in her notebooks, and she said, “About a year. One time I was working with a mattress buyer from Texas Mattress Makers and he was really impressed with how well I knew my stuff. That made me feel good.” When I peeked inside Cindy’s notebooks, it looked like another language. It’s amazing that it only took her one year to learn everything. But then again, Cindy is a very determined and fast learner. For instance, at 56 years old, Cindy taught herself how to use a computer. Now, Cindy makes spreadsheets and enters all of her mattress sales into the computer.
Cindy knows the answer!
In addition to having limitless knowledge about mattresses building, Cindy can probably answer your question. Any question. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times since I started working here. If you can’t find something, Cindy is the person who knows where it is. If there is a furniture piece or bedding item that you don’t recognize, Cindy can tell you what it is. Any questions relating to mattresses, cooking, personal finances, or Houston Furniture Bank, Cindy knows them! She is an amazing source of knowledge and she is happy to share it with you. She is also bilingual and fluently speaks Spanish, which is an extremely important skill to have at Houston Furniture Bank. Cindy is always up and moving around, which may be why it’s so hard to find her sometimes. Cindy loves that about her job, but she hates it when she has to sit still. Sitting in for the receptionist is Cindy’s least favorite job and she calls it her “kryptonite chair.”
Empathy is her secret.
Cindy is so inspiring to me because she doesn’t get discouraged by big tasks. Cindy can do anything she puts her mind to and always has a positive attitude. She has also dealt with her fair share of hardships over the years. Cindy and her husband were displaced by Hurricane Harvey and lost all of their belongings. I asked Cindy how this experience influences her work at Houston Furniture Bank and she told me, “It makes me want to help people in general. I’m a giving person and if I see someone in need I want to help them.” A couple of months ago, a customer was shopping in the Furniture Outlet and told Cindy she needed to buy furniture for her entire apartment. The customer was fleeing an abusive partner and bringing her children along with her. Cindy could empathize with this customer because she fled an abusive 17-year marriage with her six children many years ago. Cindy heard this woman’s story and knew she had to help her. Without telling the customer, Cindy put together a dish box and linen box for her, hoping to give her some encouragement and show her that she is not alone. Cindy’s small acts of kindness have been present throughout her time at Houston Furniture Bank. Cindy told me that she has received thank you cards, pictures of clients’ new apartments, and tearful hugs from her customers of the Furniture Outlet. Cindy is so great at her job because she cares about the people she’s helping. She is invested in the success of Houston Furniture Bank and takes pride in her work. I look up to Cindy and am so happy to learn from her every day.
Part of the team
Cindy is a shining example of the type of person who works at Houston Furniture Bank. Her dedication to helping families in the Furniture Outlet while also helping her fellow employees with any task is amazing. She is a team player and always comes to work with a can-do attitude. Houston Furniture Bank believes in the potential that each individual has to make our organization a better place. Prior to working here, Cindy had little to no knowledge about mattress sales, mattress building or working with computers. With time, lots of studying, and a great attitude, she grew into her role as the Mattress Sales Lead. Now, Cindy knows it all and more!
Article by Lili Bauerlein, Distribution Coordinator