Woman of Innovation: Cindy Tang

Age: 70.

Location: Platteville, Wis.

Title and organization: President, Inspiring Community Inc.

Number of years with organization: Inspiring Community Inc. originated informally in 2013 and applied for 501©(3) status in 2017.

Education and career background: Bachelor of science in economics, Missouri University of Science and Technology; master of business administration, Drury University; doctoral work in finance, Nova Southeastern University.

Community outreach and volunteering:

  • Platteville Main Street Program, board president.
  • Platteville Community Fund, board president.
  • Platteville Scholarship Fund, board member.
  • Platteville Main Street Economic Vitalization, committee member.
  • IDEA Hub, board member and mentor.
  • City of Platteville Parks, Forestry and Recreation, committee member.
  • City of Platteville Community Safe Routes, committee member.

Number of years volunteering:

  • Approximately 50 years.

Family: Husband Joseph Grant, son Mathias Tang, granddaughter Madeleine Tang.

How did you get involved with your organization and within the community? Inspiring Community originated in 2013, when a small group of volunteers gathered to talk about fostering collaboration, leadership and volunteerism. The group worked informally for several years, providing mentoring and leadership on such projects as the David Canny Rountree Branch Trail, Nutrition World Outdoor Fitness Center and the new Platteville Public Library capital campaign. In 2017, the organization applied for official recognition as a 501©(3) public charity and has worked on and completed several major projects, including the Broske Center and the Pickleball Complex and is in the process of completing the Platteville Inclusive Playground.

What challenges have you faced in your role? I have faced the challenge of finding a work/personal life balance. I love finding ways and working with others to accomplish community projects so sometimes boundary issues occur with my personal life. In theory, work and family do not affect each other, since they are segmented and independent of each other.

What is the most fulfilling part of what you do? The impact we are having on the community is the most fulfilling part of what I do. Building community and supporting engagement, leadership and volunteerism also gives me satisfaction.

How would you define “innovation”? I define innovation as a new way to look at something. In the nonprofit projects, I’m involved in searching for new ways to structure our projects and work with new partners, teams and donors who want to make a difference in our community.

What do you believe makes an effective leader? I believe genuine care about the community, integrity, respect and gratitude help make an effective leader.

Why is community outreach important to you? Sparking action in a community encourages community engagement. The process of building relationships with community members who will work as an ongoing partner to make Platteville a better place to live.

When not busy in your various roles, what activities do you enjoy? I enjoy spending time with my family. I’m lucky enough to still have a mother, and I try to spend as much time as possible with her and my son and granddaughter.

What was your reaction to receiving your Salute to Women award? I was deeply honored but my reaction also was, “oh no!” I am much more comfortable being behind the scenes than on stage.

If you could offer one piece of advice to other women, what would it be? If you are lucky enough to have a passion for something, follow that passion. If you really care about what you are doing, you are very likely to succeed.