Cindy Hemeon-Plessner may be a banker of sorts by trade, but what she’s always invested in is children.
The former teacher and self-described “kid person” firmly believes that everything she can do to support local youths benefits not just them but their families and the community as a whole. “There are no bad investments when it comes to making a kid’s life better,” says Cindy, a Gilford native and resident of Laconia.
This drive to give the community’s youngest members what they need to succeed makes volunteering with the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction a perfect fit for Cindy. She’s given the region’s children and our Auction a decade of dedication, and she rolls off the board in June and, thus, will no longer serve as its secretary.
Cindy has played a key role in marketing the Auction, served two terms on our Board of Directors, and offered her expertise as chair of the Distribution Committee and a member of the Communications Committee.
She got involved with the Children’s Auction through her job as senior vice president and chief marketing and experience officer at Meredith Village Savings Bank (MSVB), which has sponsored the Children’s Auction since its inauguration more than 40 years ago. (MVSB is also the Auction’s bank, and it does the work of calculating Community Challenge team donations, and it offers its branches up as donation collection sites each year.)
Cindy respects the broad impact the Auction has—on children, families and nonprofits and businesses as well.
“It spreads joy and promise,” she says, “and it brings together a ginormous community of volunteers and beneficiaries. Local businesses get their name out to thousands of people, whether they’re new or they’ve been donating volunteer time or goods year after year. It’s so good for all our businesses and the nonprofits the Auction supports.”
Cindy’s first opportunity to work with children came in her teaching jobs. As part of Teach For America, she led an elementary school classroom in Los Angeles before moving to Houston to teach a bilingual third-grade class. Her path in education, in fact, is what brought Cindy back to the Greater Lakes Region, where she earned her master’s degree in elementary education from Franklin Pierce University.
After joining MVSB 17 years ago, Cindy found her involvement with the Children’s Auction to be a natural transition given the bank’s sponsorship of—and bank employees’ commitment to—the organization. She took part in fundraising events that support the Auction, including the Pub Mania team and now the Community Challenge team.
She jumped at the chance to join the Auction’s board and serving on it has given her a better understanding of the direct impact the Children’s Auction has on local nonprofits doing life-changing work in the community. On a broader level, the fundraiser provides a boost to the community simply by bonding people around the care of children.
“It’s unifying,” says Cindy, whose own child, Christopher—affectionately known as Topher—is now 23 years old. “The enterprise that is the Auction is huge, so everybody is needed. I can provide value. That’s a lovely feeling to have.”
Reflecting on her decade of service to the Children’s Auction, Cindy says she is proud of the advertisements she’s created in recent years to provide an enhanced and consistent message to the public about what the Auction is and how people can get involved. She also values that the organization’s Distribution Committee has improved its process for selecting grantees.
“We tweak the rubric and make it better every year,” she says.
Although Cindy will no longer take the minutes at board meetings, she will still be actively involved. She will remain on the Distribution Committee and will also lead a strategic planning initiative for the board.
Cindy’s work with the bank will also keep her connected.
“The Auction has come a long way, and I’m excited about where it is going,” she says.