Cindy Carrillo
Founder and (former) CEO, Work Options Group
Board of Alumni and Friends

Cindy Carrillo was the Founder and CEO of Work Options Group from 1986 until 2009, when she sold the business to a major competitor. Work Options Group successfully developed, marketed and administered a new employee benefit providing temporary care to the family members of employees that was highly subsidized by their employer, allowing employees to meet their work responsibilities when they had a breakdown in their child or elder care. The benefit—called "backup care"—was sold to corporations such as Microsoft, Verizon Wireless, Prudential, Accenture and other Fortune 100 companies, resulting in the provision of services to over 1 million employees when the company sold.

Cindy's entrepreneurial career began at the age of 19 when she started a retail plant business with her parents.  When developing the plant store, Cindy was given a budget of $5,000 and charged with finding wholesale plant growers and distributors to stock the store – with the goal of being able to purchase plants and supplies on credit within 6 months.  The family-run plant shop was deemed a success over it’s 5 year lifespan, providing a fair living for all, and putting Cindy through college, and her dad through law school. 

Once the plant shop was closed and she had her college diploma in hand, Cindy entered politics as an aide to Senator Gary Hart in his Denver office, facilitating correspondence to constituents, and managing his Academy nominations.   This position provided Cindy with great exposure to our political system on both a local and national level, and gave her a number of opportunities to learn the craft of public speaking as Senator Hart’s representative at local events.

Following Senator Hart’s successful re-election campaign in 1982, Cindy decided to move into the non-profit sector as the Children and Youth Director at the Jewish Community Center in Denver, running their off-site Day Camp and developing their first onsite Before & After School and School Vacation Care programs.  This was Cindy’s first management position, complete with a department budget and staff to build and oversee.  During her last two years at the JCC, she attended the University of Denver’s Masters Degree program in Social Work, graduating with her MSW in 1985 (after having her 1st child – Ally – at the end of her 1st year of grad school).

Following her graduation, Cindy decided to start her own business in the field of “Work/Life Balance,” called Work Options Group, working with corporations in the development of benefits that would attract, retain, and support the needs of working parents.    Shortly thereafter, Cindy had her 2nd child (AJ) and continued to live the challenges of balancing work and life on a daily basis.

Work Options Group grew steadily, refocusing itself throughout the years based on the advent of the Internet and the needs of its’ corporate clients, and after 22 years, with just under 100 employees and revenues of $20M, Cindy decided it was time to sell. The company was mature, with a Class A client list, its’ services and systems defined, and it’s future growth secure…and she was ready to let it fly under someone else’s control.

Shortly after selling her company, Cindy “retired” by purchasing a small ranch in SW Colorado where she has spent the last 6 years designing and building her own little slice of heaven called CC Blue. 

During that time, Cindy continued to volunteer on Boards, started her own coaching business assisting people in all stages of their careers, and has also capitalized on the unique location, beauty and set up of the CC Blue Ranch, by developing it as a short-term rental property for events, retreats and individuals to come and enjoy its’ splendors. 

Throughout her career, Cindy has devoted a significant amount of her time to philanthropic endeavors, participating on Committees and in leadership capacities on non-profit Boards including Community Food Share, HospiceCare of Boulder & Broomfield Counties (now TRU Community Care), the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation, The Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, and The Women’s Council.

Cindy launched “The Women’s Council,” through the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in 2010 – in an effort to support women leaders in business.  She then dreamt up the idea of the Women’s Council’s signature event, “The WILD Summit” (Women Inspiring Leadership Development) which Cindy Chaired for 3 years before passing it along to the next set of leaders.  She is now Chairing WILD again for it’s 6th year!

Cindy has over 40 years of business experience, including retail, non-profit, the public sector and private enterprise.  She has developed significant leadership and management skills, has strong fiscal management and organizational development expertise, and has developed a proficiency in mentoring, coaching and public speaking.