Women of Influence: Cindy Baird

Cindy Baird has been one of Indianola’s most influential women for decades. The recently retired president of Community Bank went to work for People’s Bank 45 years ago, and she spent her entire career helping small businesses start and flourish in the community. Under Baird’s direction, Community Bank prospered, and it also launched two fall events, Taste of Indianola (October) and the Community Bank Fashion Show (November) that put the spotlight on both retail and dining, while supporting two of the community’s charities in Delta Missions and Delta Grace.

1. How did you come to live in Sunflower County?

My father, Hank Mura, was one of the team of managers transferred from Cleveland, Ohio, to start up  a new industry known as Modern Line Products in Indianola. 

Their corporate headquarters was and is still presently located in Cleveland and is known as Modern Tool and Die and is still owned by the Moll Family.   

The Gresham Family and Farmer Hamilton were instrumental in attracting and establishing Modern Line to our small town. I remember when we first arrived in Greenville, my Mom was unsure of the small airport and the surrounding land in comparison to departing from the huge Cleveland Hopkins Airport. 

She actually thought we were being hijacked!

Of course the very first thing she asked for was a cab in Indianola! 

It was a drastic change from a big city to a small town but she eventually grew to love everyone and everything about our town. 

There was a Good Will Ambassador that represented the Chamber of Commerce who brought us all kinds of presents and welcomed us to the town and made sure we knew where everything was located. 

Very different from the big city of Cleveland, Ohio! 

My Mom loved her new church and was a homeroom mother immediately in my fifth grade classroom in Lockard Elementary School.

She immediately started taking care of all the children in our classroom that needed shoes or clothes or whatever was needed. 

She had never realized the poverty that was so evident in a small rural town until we moved here.

2. Who are your biggest female influences?

Actually, my mentors were the Reverend Allen Bailey, James Hutcherson, Bruce Brumfield, my mother, Rose and my mother-in-law, Genyth Baird. 

Brother Bailey and “Hutch”  were extremely close friends and of course, Bruce guided me through the banking and agriculture industry. 

My mother’s kindness and giving heart and my mother in law’s strong spiritual guidance gave me the greatest gifts to follow. 

3. What would you describe as your biggest accomplishment so far in life?

Being a mother to my two children, Betsy and Lake and realizing what an influence a Mother has not only on her children but their friends.   

Being a part of establishing our baseball and softball fields here in Indianola along with our church’s daycare. 

Both of these organizations support so many young families in our town and our church and encourage young families to move here and raise their families.  

4. What is the best piece of advice you can give young women looking to become leaders in their communities?

Just to follow your passion and to know that when God’s hand is leading you to do something, follow His command.  All the rest will fall into place no matter what you do. 

5. What is the biggest lesson you have learned about leadership?  

Sometimes it is extremely hard, but if you know it is the right thing to do, you have to follow through. Surround yourself with the best folks that support you and anything is possible.   

7. A little family information.

My Husband:  Bill Baird

Parents:  Rose and Hank Mura

Children:  Betsy Dawson (Phillip) and Lake Baird (Lorie)

Grandchildren:  Lilli and Baird Dawson, William and Vivian Baird

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The redrawn lines for Districts 13 and 22 will be in effect for tomorrow’s primary elections.