How do you go from Tragedy to Triumph to Roommates with a Homeless Man to Producing a Movie Starring Renee Zellweger?
Today’s episode is the second part of my amazing interview with Cindy Stumpo. If you haven’t heard the first part, be sure to check out episode one. And without further ado, here’s Cindy.
Click to Read Transcript
Cindy:
Well, can I be a nobody and be a somebody at the same time? Like, what are you jealous about? I’m not flying around a private jet flying to Paris and buying 10 Birkin Hermes pocketbooks. And this is me, look, oh, not because they’re in style, because I wear Levi’s, right, on my hands and knees on jobs and so on. So my jeans that are broken in I love the best. Now they’re in style to have holes in jeans, right? Me. I mean, I’m in my sneakers today, not my work boots on, but it’s how I go out this home comfortable. And I love what I do. I love what I do. Am I getting tired? Sure. Do I wish I could take some women under my belt and say, listen, and have the same values that I have, and take this company to a whole nother level? Sure. You know, like I say I’m on the back nine of my career. I’ve done it all out here. There’s nothing I haven’t done. So I can’t say like, wow, I wish I just did this one last type of development, or I wish I did this one. I literally have done long, 33 years, and somehow ended up with a TV show and ended up with a radio show. And now I’ve got a whole line of furniture that’s launching on Perigold and Wayfair. And people asked me to get the time to do that. That’s called menopause, by the way you don’t sleep at night, you know.

The other question people asked me are, you know, “Who’s the architect used on that house, Cindy?” No. I drove all my elevations drove all my room sizes. Then I give it to my architect and say lay it down. All veneers, all the designs come from my brain. My son said to me the other day, “I got a question.” I said, Sure. Chad, he’s 26. And he’s been an amateur pro golfer on the European tour.

Pamela:
Yes, yes.

Cindy:
He’s working with me now. And he just wanted to take a break from golf. And when you get the plans like all this finish work and all this to do it. All this is picked out right and go no, we get a set of plans. There’s nothing on there. Well, how would I ever learn how to do this? That’s why you’re learning now. He said mom, design as you built? Yep. So well, one day if you can’t do this, then the architect is going to put their brand on it. Oh no, I’m going to learn exactly what you do. I gotta start to think the way you think. But it’s all up here. So I’ll walk the plank rooms and go change that, change this. We’re adding this, we’re adding that take away from there. Let’s do it this way.

Pamela:
This brings me to my next question for you like what was your most memorable moment of your career?

Cindy:
I’m the first admit I’m not at my peak of my career. You will be at the peak of your career in a few more years. I would have to say one of the proudest moments of my life was getting my GC license. Because your generation does it differently now, you guys go in front of the computer, and then you get the answer right then in there. Yes, you passed. No, you didn’t. For me, it was a walk into a room with hundreds of guys. And I was the only female, and that was very intimidating. By the way, you know what I mean, because you know, they’re all checking you out. Like what is she doing here? What? And when I got the letter in the mail that, you know, dear Miss Cindy Stumpo, you have now bah bah bah, you know. And you’re just like, yeah, you know, yes, this feels good.

For Business, from my private life, giving birth to my son and my daughter. My daughter came first, then my son and my kids are good kids. I mean, not that I don’t call them assholes because I do. Okay. I love that. I’d like that. And I hate them. And I love them. I like them. And Erica says that I don’t always, you know, I love my children, but there are times I don’t like them, I’m gonna let them pick themselves up. And I want them to be hard workers, and I want them to be humble. You know, they have a spoon in their mouth, and they are very humble. Both my kids are. And you look at, you make money. And that’s really great and wonderful. And you build a name for yourself. And that’s great and wonderful. But when you let the money define who you are as a human being, then, like, I’ve had friends that their whole personalities have changed because they’ve made money. I’m Cindy, I’m never going to change. Money makes life easier. Right? No. 100% makes life easier. But the other day does not make you happy, and happy. If you’re not a happy person, I don’t care how much money you have, it’s not gonna make you happy.

Money is great. Success is great. But the most important thing in my life is that my kids are mentally and physically healthy. And when I say mentally healthy, too many kids today ended up with anxiety, panic, a lot of mental illnesses are running through kids. Social bullying, you know, and I have severe panic disorder. So you know, I was. Sammy’s now 33 she’s passed that stage, if you’re going to get them, they come all through college years, typically or childbearing years. So my son, I worry about him. He’s still 26. And I was 26 years old when I started with panic attacks. Like it gets to 27 and 28. You know, those two of my life? That’s my life right there. And I have so much trouble with them. I mean, yeah, we have our tiffs. And they last literally five minutes. It’s over. No. And the other one will call the other one. Okay, mom’s on a rampage. So just be on watch out. Watch out. Did you charge the credit card this month? Because if you did, she’s coming after you. But no one’s going to ever say on your deathbed. And I know your generation is not going to understand this. But I should have went out and made that other dollar. You know, I mean, no, I can now afford to spend as much time hanging out with my kids, and they both work for me, so it’s good. We all work somehow we’re together all the time. Sammy is in sales. Chad’s doing the business, Sammy already knows the business, Sammy can build. She prefers sales. I don’t blame her. It’s easier. These brokers walk in, they make $10,000 by pointing their finger, and they walked out the door. And I closed the deal after that, because it’s my name.
But to me right now, it’s my family. But I’ve always been like that. It’s always been about family. Why else do you go out there and kill yourself? You do it to give a better life. And again, I was a young mother, like I said got married at 20 had her 23. So I grew up very fast.

Pamela:
And then you built your career, and then you got on HGTV. So ha, how did that all sort of happen? When at what point? That was what you said about 10 years ago? On HGTV?

Cindy:
Yes. So how did that sort of even happen, you know, to me, and they said we need a female builder. I said yeah, goodbye, that isn’t happening. And then somehow I got suckered into the whole friggin thing. And I did it. And I was miserable doing it. When you can’t walk outside your own home and go to your local restaurant, you know, you got a problem. I’m not ready for that. So I said to myself, sheesh, the most ferocious animals to Newton Brookline Jewish housewife, right? If I can deal with all the costs, if I can deal with anything, right? No. Get a show and everybody’s taking hits at you. Oh, women should talk to men that way. Oh, she shouldn’t talk to him that way.
I used to go on the HGTV board to read this and go like this for him, because it was obviously the show is a hit. So more people leaned with me. But it’s, it just, I was done. I was burnt out. I was like, you know, maybe if it had come in my 30s not in my 40s it would have been a different game. But I was tired. And I said I can’t, I can’t do TV. You get up at five o’clock in the morning. You’re shooting eight hours. And you’re shooting three hours at night to explain what happened during the day. So a lot of work, man. It’s a lot of work. And I just laugh now, people that want to be on TV do reality shows. If you ask my 33 year old daughter, would you ever do this? Again, Samantha would say never. We had an offer from Lifetime about four years ago. And we looked at each other. I said, I can’t do it. Do you want to do it? Because if she wanted to do it, I would have done it for her. Right? She said we’re out. I go, Okay, good. We’re out. You know, so.

Pamela:
Oh, buddy. So I just, you know, I look at you and everything you’ve done. And I’m like, it’s just so incredible. And the fact that you’re so humble about it, too. It’s like, it’s unreal. Because most people in your position, Cindy, you know, well, actually, I don’t know, most people, I don’t know anybody in your position, you’re a very unique person. And that’s why you’re my role model and all this. But, you know, I just, I just think it’s really remarkable how you carry yourself even after all these years and everything that you’ve been through, and that, you know, you’re very human about it, you know, you you’re telling it like it is it’s this is the real process. This is really what you went through, you still go through sometimes. Anyways I can’t even believe that Belmont story. You know, I’m like, seven, eight years ago.

Cindy:
No, that was barely six, seven years ago. And then he called the commissioner in Newton and said, I want to know everything about Cindy Stumpo.

He said, You got a great builder there. Why are you calling me? Then he called the Commissioner of Brookline. This guy wasn’t going to quit. This guy wasn’t going to quit, he wanted one of those guys to badmouth me, both of them called me. And both of them sent a letter to Matt to wherever the board is that he had no right to do that. Because as a builder, in my two communities, Brookline where I build, I’m respected by my commissioners. I do the right thing.

Listen, as the construction company, if you can go 33 years without being sued by a vendor, a user, a subcontractor, you’re doing it right. That’s keeping a lot of people happy. I can’t imagine I will live a long life after being in this business. But unfortunately, there’s not a book I can pick up and read. I wish there was. I used to go onto Google and put in female builders and all I got was female bodybuilders. Couldn’t find somebody that was maybe a couple years ahead of me or a couple years behind me, but at least be able to bounce things off of. When I was in my 20s, remember guys in their 20’s have a party and fun time, right? And I got married at 20 and had Samantha 23. So when the guys that I came out of school with I was so far in front of them, right. Then 30 hits, and I’m still going past them. Said like 15 years out here, they couldn’t keep up. Then they got to 35 days, six days seven married kids. And they’re taking it more serious, right. Right now is 55. And I would say 55. I just turned 56 last weekend. They’re going to pass me now like, wow, like, is it menopause? After everything I’ve been through in my life, losing a brother when I was 26, coming down with crippling panic disorder, building this career with crippling panic disorder. Being a mom, getting divorced at 40, this is what’s going to take me off my game. I went to a hormonal specialist and she’s like, Cindy, you’ve got no estrogen, no testosterone, no progesterone. What do you think’s going to happen? I got none but put me back together, put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Okay, but we got to put you on hormones. I’m like, Yeah, I don’t want anything that causes me anymore, you know, any type of cancer. We’ll use creams. I put the cream on. Did I put that I don’t feel good. It’s like, it’s just, if a man when he goes to a they do have a thing called menopause for men.
That can happen in their 30s too, by the way.
Yeah, the testosterone drops you get tired, blah, blah, blah. Posture and their back to normal with us. If they gotta give us testosterone they got to use progesterone they got to give it. We have to have three go through us to make us normal.

Pamela:
My god.

Cindy:
Well, not bad. I don’t want to be normal. Normal. Boring. By the way, whatever normal is. I don’t want to be normal. Say for if I was normal, a new normal. We wouldn’t be doing this business. Trust me when I tell you, though. You’re young. You’re how old?

Pamela:
28

Cindy:
Okay, so you’re at that age. I promise you when I tell you this, 35 years old, when you hit 35 you’re going to be crushing it out there. And I don’t care where the market is, when I say crushing it out there, you are going to be fully confident you’re going to be accepted in society. You are mature, you’re 35 is going to be the best 35 to 45 are going to be the best years of your life. And I want you to call me and tell me when you hit 35, 36, 37 Cindy you’re right these are great years even if the markets in the toilet. God knows where the markets going to be, I have no idea. The market could be in the toilet right now and it’s not. What’s going on out here? My best answer is this, what I do know is I don’t know because the truth is everything we’re going through in this country, we should be in a depression, not a recession.

Pamela:
Right… So I want, you know, what it’s going to be a year from now I guess time will tell I feel like every day is a different story. So it’s like you just don’t know honestly.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of the second part of my amazing interview with Cindy Stumpo.