Cindi Bigelow, president and CEO of Bigelow Tea, says women need encouragement to thrive in the business world, and that’s what drives her philanthropy in Connecticut.
Bigelow was speaking at Sacred Heart University on Thursday as part of the “Women Can Have It All” series sponsored by Linda McMahon, the former CEO of WWE.
Connecticut is not one of the leading states when it comes to the growth of women-owned firms. Bigelow says she’s trying to change that by motivating women who hope to run their own businesses someday.
“If I have some experiences to help women over a learning curve a little bit faster, or help them to really identify what’s important to them or what they need to focus on – what does success look like to them – and I can help them with that, then I feel really good about that,” Bigelow says.
Bigelow is the third-generation president of Bigelow Tea. She says her grandparents’ and parents’ commitment to keeping the business family-oriented makes Bigelow Tea successful today.
Bigelow also stressed the importance of doing good whenever possible. She says it’s a personal value, and a company commitment that started with her grandmother.
“She initially, I found out years later, had adopted a town in West Virginia and used to send down truckloads of books and coats and shoes. She adopted a class for all the reading classes they would need, I’ve read the letters she had written. So that wasn’t doing it from a marketing perspective,” Bigelow says.
Bigelow Tea is involved in several philanthropic initiatives, including a race in Southport in which proceeds go to charities in Fairfield and Bridgeport.