Cindy Shinn

Chances are, if you’re reading this on a device, you have no idea what goes on below or behind the screen.

All you know is that your phone or your laptop or your tablet works, and you’re grateful it does. Take it apart and remove one piece … one random screw or circuit or board or wire or whatever … and it ceases to operate. No matter how seemingly small or insignificant, it works in tandem with all of those other parts, and without it, your device is little more than a paperweight.

Throughout organizations like Cornerstone of Recovery, there are similar employees. They may not be frontline counselors or public faces of our organization, but the work they do is indispensable, for without them, the company’s operation slowly grinds to a halt or ceases to function at all.

Cindy Shinn is one of those employees. She’s been here 14 ½ years, and as the person in charge of Accounts Payable, her responsibilities are many, even if some of her coworkers are unsure of what, exactly, her duties entail.

Cindy Shinn: Paying the bills

Simply put: The lights stay on because of Cindy. Other employees in Cornerstone’s Accounting Department are responsible for collecting money from patients and their insurance companies, but Cindy is the one who takes those collections and makes sure they’re distributed to the businesses and organizations who bill us.

“I’m responsible for the water and the electric payments,” she said. “I’m responsible for making sure the invoices get entered and scanned in and approved by the supervisor or director who’s responsible for that purchase. I’m also responsible for getting W-9s from the different vendors that we pay and getting the checks out to different vendors.”

That’s not all: She makes sure that vendors who do work on the Cornerstone campus provide workman’s compensation certificates, she goes over every painstaking detail of various invoices submitted by outside companies, she handles employee expense reimbursements (including the collection of receipts), and she handles opening the mail. And Cornerstone gets a lot of mail.

It means that when she retires on April 30, there will be some big shoes to fill — even if many employees don’t realize it. When she first came to Cornerstone in 2006, she brought with her a wealth of experience in a number of different jobs, and that experience met a need by Cornerstone during a time when the company was on the cusp of explosive growth.

“I’ll miss the people the most,” she said. “The staff that I’ve been around for the last 14 ½ years, I just feel like they’re all family.”

Family ties

Cindy ShinnAt least one of them really is: Cindy is the sister of Julie Hamlin, director of Extended Care for Cornerstone. Julie, in fact, was the one who mentioned a need for her particular skill set back in 2006, shortly after Cindy and her husband, Tim, moved to East Tennessee from Florida.

“Our son (Brandon) was going to school at Maryville College, and when we moved up from Florida, my husband was retired from the fire department,” she said. “When we moved, I thought we would both stay retired, but after about three months, I decided it wasn’t for me, and Julie had mentioned that there was a position open doing accounts payable.”

It seemed to be right up her alley: she had taken a few bookkeeping classes in school, but most of her experience was earned on the job. She did bookkeeping for a photography business while in college, and after the owner retired, she went to work for a distribution center in Melbourne, Florida, where she stayed for 16 ½ years. From there, she worked as an office manager for a general contracting company and supervised roughly 20 employees, in addition to a host of other responsibilities.

“I was responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, workman’s comp audits, general liability audits, making sure that the employees signed their safety sheets every week and the hiring of the employees for general contract work,” she said.

It was exactly what Cornerstone needed when she came in for an interview in 2006 with Human Resources Manager Jennifer Dacus and CEO Steve McGrew, who was CFO at the time. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Cindy Shinn: Retirement, take two

Cornerstone familyNow, she’ll try out retirement for the second time — only now, she’s pretty sure it’ll take.

She and her husband are already making plans for camping trips and some traveling, and she’s interested in doing volunteer work with animals — horses, perhaps, or at local dog shelters. She’s a dog lover, and she plans on getting out and walking her own canine as a way of staying in shape and enjoying the East Tennessee outdoors.

Before then, however, she still has two months left before her April 30 retirement date — plenty of time to hopefully train her replacement on all the ins and outs of her job. It may not get marquee billing in a company whose mission is patient care, but without someone like Cindy in it, the operation would suffer, and somewhere down the line, so would that care.

In other words: We all have a part to play, and for almost 15 years, Cindy has played hers well. She’ll be missed, and she’ll miss us as well.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the staff. I see that they are very passionate and caring for our patients, and I’ve seen a lot of great work done with the staff and the patients,” she said. “I’ve just really enjoyed it, and I feel like Cornerstone is a family here. And I miss not being able to hug somebody or shake hands since this COVID thing is going on!”