It’s been nearly 30 years since Cindy Hill-Finnie first fell in love with Port Townsend - the Victorian architecture, idyllic neighborhoods, and seaside vistas.
Today, she is woven throughout the fabric of the community through business, volunteer work, and her role as the new Board Chair of First Fed Bank. Hill-Finnie grew up in Chicago, spending summers among the gardens, crops, and animals on her grandparents’ farm in central Illinois. Her career path was set early, deriving from a part-time job she took in high school as a clerk for an insurance company.
While continuing to work in insurance, Hill-Finnie graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in Political Science and minor in Spanish. Two years later she joined the team at Allstate Insurance, where she remained for 38 years.
Hill-Finnie's father was a top executive in a large mining and manufacturing company and encouraged her entrepreneurial spirit to thrive. “My father was an amazing mentor,” said Hill-Finnie. “He taught me to believe I could pursue whatever career I was interested in without boundaries.”
Armed with the confidence to make her way in a traditionally male dominated workplace, she used the management, motivation, and leadership skills her father had exemplified to help her succeed on her career path.
It was during a business trip to Seattle in the mid-90s when Hill-Finnie visited Port Townsend on a recommendation from a friend. She was not expecting to find her new hometown.“I remember driving in for the first time and cresting the hill on Sims Way overlooking Port Townsend,” she recalled. “The vista took my breath away!”
With her partner, she purchased the Victorian Maurice Sachs house and began the restoration process. Several years later they also purchased the Bishop Hotel and the Swan Hotel. While establishing her new property management company, Rainshadow Properties, she also continued her career at Allstate. She was the only woman to receive Allstate’s exclusive top sales leadership award.
Even while continuing two career paths, Hill-Finnie dedicated time to participate in and give back to local community organizations. She is currently a director for the First Fed Foundation (formerly known as First Federal Community Foundation). Additionally, Hill-Finnie has served as a director and president of the Centrum Foundation, Chair of the Washington State Arts Commission, Chair of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority, a director of the Jefferson County Community Foundation, member of the City of Port Townsend Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, and director of the Fort Worden Foundation.
Hill-Finnie met Steve Oliver, the previous First Fed board chair, through the Northwest Maritime Center. He approached her with the opportunity to serve on the First Fed board of directors due to her extensive experience as a business owner, a corporate executive, and a community leader. She expressed the importance of a good banking partnership for both personal finances and in business.
“Community banks are critical to the economic health of our small communities,” noted Hill-Finnie. “First Fed has a long history of supporting their communities and local organizations through donations and volunteer work. Our bank is truly a partner to our community.”
Hill-Finnie is the first woman to hold the position as board chair at First Fed. In her career she has been a champion of maintaining a diverse workforce, and she is happy to see those values reflected at First Fed.
“I’m honored to be selected as the first woman chair at a company committed to diversity and inclusion,” said Hill-Finnie. “It will be exciting to celebrate First Fed’s centennial in 2023 as we embark on the next 100 years!”
In addition to renovations – her fourth renovation project in Port Townsend is in full swing – Hill-Finnie enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family. She also loves the arts, culture, and natural beauty the PNW has to offer.
"This is a wonderful community," she added. “The passion and community spirit of the residents here make Port Townsend a truly special place.”
First Fed is a member FDIC and equal housing lender. Learn about our Port Townsend branch at ourfirstfed.com/locations/port-townsend
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