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Who is Cindy Lyn Banyai?

Cindy Banyai the fighter goes all the way back to her childhood. She watched her young parents struggle and sacrifice to give her opportunities to grow and chase her education dreams. As an undergraduate, Cindy studied international relations and psychology at Michigan State University.  During this time, Cindy debuted as a pro boxer in 2000, then completed her bachelor’s degree in 2002. She interned twice in Congress, with both Democratic and Republican leaders, before taking an opportunity to travel to Asia. Once overseas, Cindy completed a Master’s and Ph.D. from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan with her research focusing on community development, public administration, evaluation, and governance. During this time abroad living in Japan, Cindy also competed as a sponsored pro boxer from 2005 to 2009. This sport taught her how to prepare for a fight, plan her attacks, anticipate her opponent and use those advantages to win.   


When she returned to the US, Cindy moved to Fort Myers and settled in the community she had come to love. She grew her family --- adding three kids and pets as she built a life back in the states. Cindy has never strayed from being hands-on involved in the neighborhoods and with the people she cares about. 


Cindy teaches courses on American Government and global issues at a local university, while also serving in leadership roles in regional non-profits. She has also founded her own small business to provide organizational and management consulting to businesses across the globe.

She received the Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award in 2015 from the Community Development Society for her work on regional initiatives at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and for her commitment to community-based advocacy organizations such as BikeWalkLee. Dr. Banyai continues to serve the field of community development as the President of the Community Development Society and representative to the United Nations for International Association for Community Development, an NGO with UN consultative status.

Through her consulting work, Dr. Banyai has worked with civil society leaders and government officials from more than 25 countries. Recently she focused on crafting an evaluation culture in Southwest Florida working with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. She also worked to institutionalize evaluation in governments and nonprofits around the world through technical assistance for the Japan International Cooperation Agency. There she helped national and local government actors in Nepal, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Greater Africa, Tunisia, and Chile.  In recognition of her evaluation work, she received the 2018 Evaluation Advocacy and Use Practice Award from the American Evaluation Association.

Why I'm Running for Fort Myers City Council

I'm running to create a Fort Myers where the sun shines on everyone!

I decided to run for office after working to help people in our community and seeing how rampant corruption steals opportunity from everyday people. 

I was often behind the scenes, researching and writing reports. Reports meant to help our government and programs work more efficiently and effectively. I would present these reports to leaders who would check the box and move on without making significant change. I saw friends and family benefit from public dollars with little more than a shrug and a nod saying "that's just the way it is". 

I'm here to say that corruption is not "just the way it is" and I'm here to put a stop to it.

As your next City Council Woman, I will think together with all leaders, regardless of party, to act on the issues that most affect
 our lives. I will focus on policies that drive an efficient, transparent government, which create jobs, and make healthcare more affordable and accessible.

Above all, I will continue to connect with people in our community, to listen and understand your needs, and to work for a Fort Myers where the sun shines on everyone.  

I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to represent you and deeply appreciate your support as we campaign to bring our voice to the table.
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