Cindy Baier learned about being a caregiver at an early age. Growing up on a farm in central Illinois, one of Cindy’s responsibilities was providing care for her grandfather, who was blind. That early experience is part of what drew Cindy to Brookdale, a mission-driven company dedicated to enriching the lives of those we serve.
Cindy is a genuine believer in that mission. She personally experienced the importance of it this past year, when her mother went into a decline and passed away in 2017. Cindy has said that seeing her mother’s complete dependence upon the community staff, and watching the way they took care of her, gave Cindy a new appreciation for the intricacies of resident care, extending from the personalized interactions in the community every day, to the work of the office support staff that handled contracts and billing.
Cindy has also said that, through this experience, she became aware of just how important it was that the people who took care of her mom were, themselves, taken care of. It’s worth noting that a strategic priority in Brookdale’s turnaround strategy that Cindy is leading is to attract, engage, develop, and retain the best associates!
Cindy’s philosophy is that we need the right balance of mission and margin: we must deliver our mission every day, and we must make sure that we are good stewards of the company’s resources – because we can’t do one without the other.
Brookdale’s Board of Directors is confident that Cindy is the right person to guide a successful turnaround of our business. She has the right background, bringing a strong mix of financial acumen and operational expertise to the role.
The former Chicago resident got an early start on her finance career, working as an accountant while obtaining her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Accounting at Illinois State University. After graduation, she joined a Big Six accounting firm.
When she joined Brookdale, Cindy was already a proven, change-oriented executive who had demonstrated her abilities across multiple industries and leadership roles. Beyond the breadth of her current and prior companies’ CFO roles, Cindy has held multi-billion dollar P&L responsibility, served as an executive officer reporting to the Chairman of a Fortune 30 company, was a CEO for a publicly traded retailer and has served for more than a decade as a board member of public and private companies.
Since she joined Brookdale in December of 2015 as CFO, she has built a high-performing finance function and has led a number of important initiatives. Over the past few months, the Board tasked her with additional responsibilities, including to begin formulating a turnaround strategy. She has been working directly with our operational, sales, marketing and other leadership teams to plan and begin implementing tactics to improve our results.
While Cindy is currently devoting all of her time and attention to Brookdale, she believes strongly in public service and is a former Trustee of The Field Museum in Chicago and also provides leadership for several professional organizations in the Chicago area. She was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in the College of Business at her alma mater and has been a frequent speaker on corporate governance and financial reporting.
Cindy and her husband have lived in the Nashville area since late 2015. They enjoy travel and entertaining, and have three grown children.