Director of Retail Operations
She loves cutting her grass, which she calls a hobby. She also loves to snuggle with her Golden Retriever, Jade, whom she shares with her father. Her other hobbies include traveling, spending time with family and friends, kayaking, jet skiing and attending Bible study. She’s also part of a book club and a couples car club.
We’re talking about Cindi Toll, Director of Retail Operations. So when she’s not enjoying her hobbies, she’s working hard at AAA Ohio Auto Club (OAC). She’s been with the organization for 37 years and jokes that she has worked every job in the company except as a fleet driver.
When asked what has kept her with the company for so many years, she states that the opportunities for advancement and the genuine, hardworking people make it all worthwhile. She mentioned one of her favorite quotes, “When you find a job you truly love; you’ll never work a day in your life.” Judging by the contributions she has brought to OAC, those words could not be more true.
Cindi’s role at AAA is very significant because she oversees and supports all the retail locations in OAC territory and implements all six business lines initiatives in the stores. She loves staying connected with her sales managers through Skype calls and face-to-face meetings; she believes this builds healthy relationships, and assists in establishing goals and benchmarks. Cindi believes that anybody can be a manager, but very few can be a leader. She leads by example rather than by title, and hopes this inspires her team. She also advocates to never settle on being average, but to always strive to be the best.
To jump-start the week, Cindi has TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday) motivational huddles to encourage her staff to get pumped for the new work week. She also seeks to mentor employees to become their best selves.
Throughout her years at AAA, Cindi has witnessed many accomplishments from her employees. How does she describe success? When her employees supersede goals that they set for themselves, grow within their present roles or obtain promotions. It makes her feel good to see people gain confidence and put in the effort it takes to become great.
One of her District Sales Managers, Candace Kalb says, “I’m so thankful for being placed onto her team! She has lead me to be the manager I am today and continues to teach me. She is a strong leader; she makes her expectations clear and she holds you accountable for them. When I was promoted, she purchased me the book “Leadership 101” and wrote a quote on the first page, ‘It’s not just what we do, but it’s who we are! Stay true to yourself.’ I think that says it best about Cindi; it’s not what she does, but it’s who she is.”
Being a woman in the workforce has not changed Cindi’s ambition or passion to take charge. When asked what advice she has for women in the workforce looking to take their career to the next level, she states that you have to be visible, radiate self-assurance, and commit to being a lifelong learner. “When you get comfortable, you stop learning.” Cindi asserts that leadership is a people business where you must tend to them, and care about their needs and wants. You must also surround yourself with like-minded people that will build you up and help guide you along the way. Frequent communication and following your code of ethics are key.
Her best practices for staying in tune with industry trends are: constantly reading, listening to podcasts, watching webinars, and never losing the heartbeat of our stores. She declares that your front line (staff) is your bottom line.
Speaking of her staff, another District Sales Manager, Ashley Ford, says she looks up to Cindi.
“She has always been supportive and motivating. One of my favorite things about her management style is her confidence in her associates. She genuinely cares about everyone she meets. I wouldn’t be the leader I am today without Cindi’s influence,” Ford said.
It’s evident that Cindi strives to succeed—she always shoots for the top. She wants folks to know they should strive for excellence, stating, “A smooth sea never made a successful sailor.”
Cindi, congratulations on your years of service, and dedication to your retail operations and staff. You’re admired by many and respected by all. Going strong since 1982!
Authors: Tiffany Boyd and Christy Sheffield