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LDA did an extensive search for a new Executive Director and Cindy Cipoletti was chosen among a very experienced field of nonprofit professionals. 

Beth McGaw, President of LDA, sat down with Cindy to learn more about her and gain her insights on the future of LDA.

Cindy, what led you to be interested in applying for the LDA ED position?

Initially I became interested in the position because my son struggles with a learning disability and I felt drawn towards LDA’s mission and being able to help other parents who are going through what I did.  The more I learned about LDA’s work, the more drawn to the organization I became, and I knew that this was where I wanted to be.

Tell us a little about your background in the nonprofit sector.

My background is in law, which is where I began my career.  However, I first became drawn to non-profit work through volunteering and serving on local non-profit boards.  In 2012, I began working full time for The Lighthouse Foundation, a non-profit organization helping homeless and impoverished families in western Pennsylvania.  I was the Executive Director for The Lighthouse until October 2019 when I started with LDA.

What skill sets do you have as a leader that will be the most beneficial to lead LDA? 

I believe that my background in growing and advancing a non-profit organization and understanding the challenges that come with growth and change will be very beneficial in my leadership of LDA.   In addition, I am cognizant of the importance of professional development for me and my staff. Leaders always need to be learning and developing themselves and others within the organization.  

You have only been on the job for a short time now but what have you seen as LDA’s biggest strengths thus far?

The Board of Directors and the staff.  The Board is made up of a committed and highly skilled group of people whose collective knowledge is amazing. We have a small staff who I am just getting to know, but so far I am so impressed with all that they have accomplished.  

What do you see as LDA’s biggest challenges going forward?

Staying focused on the future and not the past.  When and organization has been around as long as LDA has, sometimes it can be difficult not to focus on the way things used to be done.  In order to grow and continue to be a voice for the learning disabilities community, we have to stay focused on now and the future. With the leadership of the current board, I’m so excited about what the future holds.  

Where would you like to see LDA be in five years?

I would like to see LDA be the leading resource in this country for individuals with learning disabilities and their families.  

How do you plan to lead LDA to get there? 

By creating awareness of our core principles, becoming more active in policy at the federal and state levels, and by creating unique programming that our state and local affiliates can use to help adults and children with learning disabilities.  

What keeps you up at night? 

Lots of things! Sometimes I wish I didn’t need to sleep because there is so much I want to do.  With respect to LDA, there are endless opportunities and I have so much excitement about the future.  Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and start writing down ideas. It’s crazy how some of my best thinking happens at 3am.  

What is your favorite book?

Well, I love to read, so this is a tough question.  My guilty pleasure is fiction, so anything by Stephen King or James Rollins will immediately capture my interest.  One of the most inspirational non-fiction books I’ve ever read is “Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  

What is your favorite quote? 

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. ”  – Charles Swindoll

Would you like to share a hidden talent? 

I wish I had something really cool to share here, but I don’t.  I have been told that I’m an excellent problem solver and that I make really delicious brownies.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I wish that everyone could see the potential in children and adults with learning disabilities.  I consider it an honor and a privilege to be working with an organization whose mission is to make that wish a reality.