Other Communities We're In:

SVP International

Cyndie Leary

Tell us about yourself.
My husband, Dan, and I live in Cottage Grove, with our two young adult children. We also have two dogs – an 11-year-old yellow lab and a three-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. My mom also lives with us, with her dog, Beau. We have lived in Cottage Grove most of our lives and enjoy the area very much. We spend our summers in our camper on the Mississippi River in Otsego, MN, or traveling to dog shows with our Ridgeback.

What attracted you to SVP and inspired you to be an engaged philanthropist?
My company, Lube-Tech is a corporate Partner with SVP. When I started working with Lube-Tech eight years ago, we were just starting a new grant cycle and I jumped at the opportunity to join the grant team. After going through the grant process, due diligence, site visits and presentations, I was approached to be the co-lead on our first investee, Breakthrough Twin Cities. After that, I was hooked! I attended nearly all of the SVP quarterly meetings, as well as any other learning opportunities that were offered. Then, I was given the opportunity to go to the SVP Global Summit in Chicago. That was a wonderful experience and I left with so much excitement and energy. I joined the Equity and Social Justice Community of Practice. And that turned into attending a Racial Equity Learning Lab in Tucson, AZ. I am also a member of the SVP Investment Committee, and the newly formed Social Justice Book Club. I absolutely love the feeling that collectively we are truly making measurable changes in the world!

What has been your most fulfilling SVP activity (so far!)?
My most fulfilling SVP activity (so far), was being part of the Racial Equity Learning Lab last year. I attended with Guff Van Vooren, another SVP Minnesota Partner, which helped add to the excitement of the event. It was great to have someone to discuss these tough topics with. During that learning lab, I was able to meet many other like-minded people who could have meaningful conversations. But it wasn’t just having good conversations, it was the action that we wanted to take because of the conversations. I left the weekend being so inspired and ready to change the world! I am still working on that, but trying to make small changes as I can!

What have you learned during your time as an SVP Partner that you didn’t know before?
I have learned so much, it is hard to narrow it down. Most recently, learning about the Somali community during the panel discussion was amazing. That was definitely a community that I knew very little about.

What do you do in your leisure time? Any unique tidbits you’d like to share?
I have a few ‘out of the norm’ hobbies. First, my son has been showing dogs for 11 years now. So, we spend about 1-2 weekends a month during the summer at a dog show. We have met lots of fun people in that world as well!

Another current hobby is listening to podcasts. I listen to mostly true crime or social justice podcasts, but have a vast library of others as well. Because of my love of true crime, a few friends and I are also going to start a new true crime podcast soon. We plan on focusing on crimes that involve people of marginalized communities. We hope to help bring attention to those communities and potentially aid in the cases being solved. We are currently in the very early stages of research, so it may be a few months before we have anything recorded.

When I am not doing dog shows, or researching podcasts, my mom and I are working on crafts and starting our own craft business. We will be vendoring at local craft fairs and selling our handmade items online.