Sandy Cimino tries to impact lives at work and in the community
Sandy Cimino is all about making a difference.
The vice president/business lender for Ouachita Independent Bank and Airline High School graduate who grew up and works in Bossier is steadily involved in various groups that impact her hometown community.
“I wasn't blessed with children so my husband asked me what I wanted to do, so I became involved in the community,” said Cimino.
Her list of involvement and accomplishments is a testament to her impact.
Among her volunteering involvement and achievements, Cimino was the first woman Independence Bowl chairman, first woman Exchange Club of Bossier City member, help start the Krewe of Gemini and was a past queen, started the Bossier Chamber of Commerce Diplomats program and served on board about 15 years ago before becoming a board member again this year, President of Women's Commission, past president of the Bossier Arts Council, former boardmember of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, former ambassador of Holiday in Dixie, past President of Education for Bankers, past member of the Gingerbread House board, a ATHENA Award winner, taught junior achievement for 10 years, and currently also works with Caddo Correctional Center's Re-entry Program.
“I don't know what board I haven't sat on at one time,” she laughed.
Losing her husband and mother nine years ago, Cimino credits them for empowering her to feel like she can postively affect Bossier-Shreveport.
"Life's been good to me, there's been a few glitches — losing my husband and my mother shortly before that, but they gave me the strength to make a difference."
And her motivation is simple: she wants to give back.
“I've been very fortunate to have met so many folks. You're making a difference and I hope I'm setting goals for other people and showing them it can be done,” said Cimino. “Teaching Junior Achievement, I still have people come up to me 15 years later and say, 'Aren't you Ms. Cimino? Do you remember when...' and I think 'Oh my gosh, did I make some difference?' There are so many people out there and you hope you can just touch one life.”
\And her desire to make a difference doesn't just apply to her involvement in the community, she also looks forward to it at the office.
“It's why I love banking — to help people grow their business, you're making a difference (at work),” Cimino said.
She started in the banking industry with Bossier Bank and Trust 40 years ago, even running the bank at Barksdale Air Force Base, before ending up at OIB.
“I started grass roots by copying checks,” she laughed.
Cimino has since worked her way up in both actual position and respect from the business community. She was awarded the Bossier Chamber's Businessperson of the Year award at their annual gala last week.
“I was shocked, I didn't expect it — always the bridesmaid, never the bride. I'm following people who are phenomenal,” said Cimino.
In her view, to be a successful businesswoman nowadays, determination and a team mentality are required.
"You've got to surround yourself with people who are intelligent and you want to mentor. You have to be fair and honest, and have a caring attitude," said Cimino. “There's a saying that you should be careful of who you step over on your way up because you'll see them on the way back down and that's true. I'd rather build people up and cross train so if I'm not here tomorrow, my customers are still taken care of.”
And her determination and desire to make a difference in the community and at work, has made her a success.
“I was the first to be invited to do some things not because I was a woman, but because of what I've done," she said. “I've been very fortunate to grow through meeting others.”
But just because she's successful doesn't mean Cimino is stopping.
"In what I've done, I'm a success, but there's still things I want to do.”