Since 1983 American Business Women’s Day is celebrated every year on September 22nd. The organization responsible for starting this wonderful national day of recognition is the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), whose mission over the last 70 years has been “to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.” Since its inception in 1949, the ABWA has been breaking the barriers for women in the workforce.
As a women-owned and women-run business, this day is extra special to us. In honor of American Business Women’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to share our story by highlighting two women who have contributed to the growth and success of Madison Avenue, Inc. over the last 26 years. These women are owner, Cindy Hall and president, Stacey Heyman.
In 1992, Cindy Hall’s late husband, Steve, left his longtime executive career in corporate America to open a sign company with his former high school soccer teammate, Charlie Wiemers. It wasn't long until Cindy came to realize starting this business would, in fact, be a family affair. She quickly decided to return to the workforce to help support her family while the new business built up speed. Every day Cindy went to work at Hand to Hand (a local charitable organization) and every night Steve brought home work for her from Madison Avenue.
When Steve passed in 2013, Cindy once again stepped up when the company needed her by taking over the position of owner and CEO of Madison Avenue. Cindy’s focus over the years has been, “making sure that great people have the autonomy to do their jobs well, and that we provide them with the tools and motivation to come in and do that every day.” Although Cindy came into her leadership position unexpectedly and during a time of great sadness, she discovered how rewarding a life in business can be and finds comfort in seeing the company continue to flourish. She stated “although I took on my role as a labor of love, American Women in Business Day – and any celebration of women in business – makes it more likely that my three granddaughters will someday choose a career path that is rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling, and that their future world will be better prepared to recognize the amazing qualities women bring to leadership positions in the workplace.” Today, Cindy attributes the continued success of MAI entirely to the commitment and excellence of the management team, now run by Stacey Heyman.
Stacey Heyman started at Madison Avenue, Inc. the day its doors first opened, nearly 27 years ago, on January 11th, 1993. Stacey was quite literally MAI’s very first employee as she was the first person to show up to the office on day 1. She jokes that the doors were still locked. Originally hired as a graphic designer, Stacey soon came to realize that her job description was much, much more. From the start, Stacey occupied nearly every position at the company from designing, printing, and shipping signs to invoicing, customer support, and more. After over two decades of hard work and dedication, Stacey was promoted to company president in 2019. Looking back over her transformation from MAI’s first employee to its first female president, Stacey recalled some of the most valuable lessons she acquired along the way. One valuable lesson she shared was “nothing happens overnight”. Her advice for this is to be patient and do your research to make sure you’re making the right decisions. Moving forward in her role as president, Stacey’s vision of success is “helping Madison Avenue grow as a company while helping employees grow with it”.
When asked what American Business Women’s Day means to her, Stacey replied “this day is about celebrating women in the workplace and that makes me really happy.” She went on to say that in her experience, women have not always been treated equally. She believes there are still many challenges women in business face today; some of the biggest challenges being not having a valued voice and not receiving equal respect. Stacey is hopeful that these challenges will diminish over time as women in business continue to make progress and grow professionally. As MAI’s first female president, Stacey is proud to be a contributing member of this honorable day.
American Business Women’s Day provides the millions of women in business across the nation with an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments. Here at Madison Avenue, we are thrilled to celebrate all of the amazing and inspiring women in the workforce and women business owners everywhere.