Cyndi Green’s wallcovering career began over thirty years ago when, with the help of a book and a determined disposition that would help propel her career, she hung wallpaper in her own home. And she was hooked. For the next 15 years, Green perfected her craft by hanging paper in others’ homes. Her eye for detail and experience as a seamstress provided her with the skills she needed to excel at paperhanging.
Joining the guild
In 1999, Green joined the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP) after she found the group while researching Anaglypta for a residential job. The payoff from that decision was almost immediate: In 2000, she was approached to complete a two-story hotel lobby. Green had no problem accepting the challenge, knowing the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA), formerly NGPP, was there to support her. Once again, she went to fellow members to research commercial installation who coached her on how to complete the job.
“Had I not met NGPP, I would still be small-time,” Green said.
Her career quickly expanded after joining the WIA. Green took on more high-end projects and specialized in commercial jobs when the residential market slowed, then went back to her residential expertise when the commercial market slowed. She now specializes in the next big wallcovering frontier: digital murals.
“You can specialize in anything you put your mind to,” Green said.
Waving off the old wisdom that one should pick one area of expertise, Green enjoys rolling with the changes in an evolving industry.
“It keeps everything interesting — everything is so different,” she said.
And she credits the WIA for helping her make that exciting variety possible.
“That’s one reason I love the WIA: because there’s always somebody in a specialty when you need to know something. It’s like you have somebody working with you by phone all the time,” Green said.
Through collaborations like this within the WIA, she built a powerful network of knowledge — and one of friendship.
“I have probably met some of my best friends in life in the industry — all over the country,” she said.
Green values this ability to work together and collaborate with other passionate, creative professionals.
A lasting career of collaboration
The WIA helped Green find her passion and her place in the career world.
“I felt it was important to give back,” she said.
Her gratitude for the WIA would prove bottomless.
Green has served on the WIA board of directors for the past 15 years, serving as president of the organization during part of that time. It was during her term that the NGPP name changed to the WIA to better reflect changes in the industry and help forge better connections with others in the industry. Green made it her mission to collaborate more closely with wallcovering manufacturers and marketers. She saw how collaboration could strengthen the industry.
“What was important to me was not only the people I worked with, but it was important for the industry to do good,” Green said.
Giving back with wallcoverings
Under her leadership, the Wallcovering Association (WA) and WIA came together at conferences and in meetings to better educate each other on the processes of the industry as a whole, and how their two halves work in symbiosis. WIA worked with the WA on the Tech Trac education program, one that encompasses the entire wallcovering gamut and makes every element stronger. The respect of the relationships between the two organizations was evident when the WA presented the WIA with their Presidential Award in 2013 for their part in working together to bring the entire industry together. The two organizations even teamed up to work on charity and restoration work after hurricane Katrina.
Next year will be the first in years in which Cyndi will not serve on the WIA board of directors.
“I will still make myself available to any of the new leaders, to help guide them … I think that the success of this organization is a vital part of the success of the wallcovering industry,” Green said.
Industry success comes from the passion of those involved, like Green.
“I’ll do whatever I can to always help — even if it’s on the sidelines,” she said. “It will always be an important part of my life.”
In fact, Green has a lot to pass on. During her time in the WIA, she has won many awards, including the Sam Kovnat Award, which celebrates an individual who, over a number of years, has displayed outstanding commitment to the WIA, its code of ethics, and has set an example to which all paperhangers may aspire.
Looking to the future
Cyndi believes in a flourishing future for wallcovering and the WIA.
“My business is bigger than it’s ever been, and there’s still room to grow,” she said.
Green points out that that wallcovering installers are an aging group and should take on apprentices to train the next generation of wallcovering professionals.
“There are no schools for the industry,” she said. “I think it’s important that each of us takes on an apprentice.”
The wallcovering business promises a good career for those with the aptitude for it. It’s growing, ever-evolving, and offers the flexibility of self-employment. And with the WIA on hand, there’s a living library of resources for a young professional. Most of all, Green said, it’s an enriching career.
“There’s a lot of pride in the craftsmanship, pride in what you do. It’s fulfilling,” she said.
It’s easy to see how Green has spent much of her life staying busy. Even though her business still keeps Green busy, she balances her hectic schedule and home life with her husband of 43 years. Together, they enjoy staycations at her dream home working her gardens and spending time with their grandkids by the pool.
“Just being home and taking time together is our vacation,” she said. “We just enjoy what we have.”