Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature profiles of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program.
Cynthia Havard holds two vital roles in the success of Cole’s Quality Foods Inc. while working in a world traditionally dominated by men.
During her tenure, the company has grown from $25 million to $75 million in revenue, a magnitude of growth that creates opportunities as well as challenges for the chief financial officer. Known for its frozen garlic bread and toast, the Michigan-based baker distributes products throughout the eastern half of the United States and to selected markets in the Southwest and West.
Havard views herself as a role model for other young women in West Michigan and proudly points to her progression through the ranks from staff accountant to principal tax advisory in entrepreneurial services at Ernst & Young LLP and then her 1995 transition to her current position at Cole’s.
She seeks to be actively involved with organizations making a positive impact in the community. Most recently, she’s filled leadership roles as vice chair of the board at Porter Hills Retirement Communities and as chair of the executive leadership team for American Heart Association Go Red for Women. She currently sits on the finance committees for Gerontology Network and YMCA Governing Board.
Havard previously lent her talents to the Huntington Women’s Advisory Board and the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, The Right Place and Family Owned Business Council. Her honors include being an Athena Award finalist in 2005, Inforum Inner Circle in 2009, and one of GRBJ’s 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2010.