When Cindy Mancillas was a young newlywed moving back to Chicago after a career with Neiman Marcus’ corporate office in Dallas, she wanted to invest herself in a cause where she could have an impact.
“I remember having a heart-to-heart talk with my dad about what I should do,” says Mancillas, who has her MBA from Kellogg. “Then he suggested I join the Associates Board at Rush.”
Mancillas’s father, H. Clark of Hinsdale, knew of what he spoke. He had become a Rush Board Trustee in 1986 and a Life Trustee in 2010. “When I first joined the Rush University Medical Center Board, I was Chairman and CEO of Nalco Chemical Company,” Clark remembers. “One of our board members said to me, ‘H, you need to be on the Rush Board.’ I said, ‘OK, how do I learn more about it?’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ he said, ‘I’ll take care of it.’ The next thing I know, I’m on the Board. It was a simple affair. And it ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
It’s not uncommon to see multiple generations from one family share a passion for the mission of the Rush Board to work in partnership with the Medical Center to help it provide the best health care for the individuals and diverse communities Rush serves.
“Rush has always been very involved in the community—the work it does stretches well beyond the hospital walls,” Clark says. “The more I learned about Rush, the more I understood how important its mission is. I always wanted my daughters [Cindy and Caryl] to be aware of the world outside their own lives and understand the importance of service.”
Like her father, Mancillas knew she was on to something good. It wasn’t long before she graduated from the Associates Board to the Rush Woman’s Board, one of the oldest hospital woman’s boards in the country, dating back to 1884. After serving the hospital in some way for more than 30 years—having modeled in the Board’s Fall Fashion Show and chairing the show in 2012, today, she finds herself as the Woman’s Board president.
“This has definitely been an interesting time to take on this role,” adds Mancillas, who succeeded Cindy Nicolaides in the fall of 2020. The Woman’s Board is made up of more than 200 dedicated women who volunteer their time and talents. They are currently working towards a pledge for Precision Oncology Research by raising funds through its Spring Luncheon, the two Medical Center gift shops, and board and individual donations.
“We did the best we could to keep things moving forward when the pandemic shut everything down,” she says. “Cindy helped us pivot by taking our ways of doing things virtual. It required more logistical planning, but it worked. The nice thing was that it kept our board members connected when we couldn’t be together.”
With Mancillas’ longevity on the board, she was able to see Rush’s “butterfly” hospital building—for which she helped raise funds in anticipation of it opening in 2012— treat the sickest of the sick during the pandemic.
“It was amazing to see the Brennan Pavilion be transformed into a triage center for non-COVID patients in 2020 and then converted to a mass vaccination center earlier this year,” Mancillas says. “When asked why people stay on the Board so long, it’s to see things like—that the vision and foresight from a decade ago came to fruition today was nothing short of unbelievable.”
Fast forward to summer 2021 and Mancillas and the Board are working tirelessly towards its fall event on October 1, “Be a Game Changer,” chaired by Sarah Alshouse and Bethany Crocker.
“We have a Plan A with the event being in-person and Plan B if we’re not,” Mancillas says. “Either way, our virtual spring luncheon in May proved that we can be successful regardless of the format.”
Even in a year that was challenged by a pandemic and months-long quarantine, the Woman’s Board was able to meet the 2020 principal project goal for the Transformation Fund and make additional grants to various departments of the Medical Center.
As far as what Mancillas’ father has to say about his daughter being president of the Woman’s Board, it’s safe to assume he’s very proud.
“I wasn’t surprised at all when Cindy became president,” he says. “She likes to be in charge of things, but she does it in an unobtrusive way. The work the Woman’s Board does is so important, and you need good people to do the job. She’s one of those good people.”
To learn more about the Rush Woman’s Board or the “Be a Game Changer!” event on October 1, visit thewomansboard.org.