When you meet Tiffani Hinds, you notice her sparkling eyes and high energy packed tightly in a small frame. Her work-mates certainly see her organization, diligence and attention to detail. Her family sees her lavish love, sense of order and tireless work ethic. The community sees her generous spirit and quick mind. Her church sees her kindness and compassion. Emerald Coast Business Women’s Association sees in her a beautiful example of the success of their scholarship program.
As the current President of ECBWA, an organization of talented, visionary and generous women, it was my pleasure to interview Tiffani recently on the subject of “What Women Bring to Leadership”. (Audio replay is below.) I have always counseled women that you can have everything you want in life, you just can’t have it all at once. Tiffani’s life even pushes the envelope on that long-held belief. What this particular woman brings to leadership is truly an inspiration to “Lean In“.
Tiffani is a Panama City native whose life has blossomed beyond what she ever imagined as a young child who dreamt of becoming a mommy when she grew up. Yes, her dream of motherhood has come true – her husband and their eight children are testimony to that. She also earned her Master’s degree in Business Administration and serves as Chief Operating Officer of United Way of NorthWest Florida. Her life is full in every way.
As a Rutherford High School graduate, Tiffani had no idea what she wanted to do. She enrolled at Gulf Coast State College and entered the nursing program, figuring that was a sure path to employment. The problem – it was not a fit. She could not see herself in health care. She left school and held a series of jobs, landing in the restaurant industry. While employed at Panama Country Club, a mentor noticed her bright mind and high potential and strongly encouraged her to return to school. It wasn’t long before she accepted the offer that was made to pay for her books her first semester if she would go back to college.
She considered her talents and interests as well as employment possibilities and set her sights on a degree in Business. She sought financial support and it was then that her life intersected with Emerald Coast Business Women’s Association. Their focus since 1999 has been awarding scholarships to returning students age 23 and over. Most scholarships programs target graduating high school seniors. ECBWA wanted to give a hand up to those who are redefining themselves or pursuing a long-held dream and need a boost.
Tiffani received her Bachelor’s Degree in Administration from FSU Panama City, and decided she wanted to press on and join the minority rank of women with MBAs. It took persistence, resilience and mental toughness to stay the course, but she finished strong.
Life has a way of giving us everything we need, but it often comes packaged differently than what we pictured. By the time Tiffani met her husband Paul, she knew that infertility was an obstacle blocking fulfillment of a major dream. They discussed it at length and agreed that adoption would be their answer. Their family grew to seven children quite quickly. And it was then, despite the forecast of medical science, that Tiffani became pregnant with their son, Benjamin.
Tiffani explains the only way she is able to handle her many responsibilities is teamwork. She credits her husband with handling much of the weight of a large family. And she loves her job and being part of an organizational culture that values flexibility and cooperation.
Tiffani is now an influential community member, leading with grace and integrity. It was providential that a member of ECBWA invited her to a new member’s activity last year and she immediately realized it was time to pay it forward. She is now an active part of creating scholarship opportunities for other women who have a dream. Tiffani’s life sends the message, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” With a little help and a lot of teamwork, nothing is impossible.
What Women Bring to Leadership: Thoughts on the Cracked Ceiling
In this audio interview, Tiffani and I discuss:
The unique contributions women bring to the workplace.
Why are women still under-represented in the C-Suite, in politics and positions of leadership in general?
How do women sabotage themselves in the workplace?