Meet the Retreat Directors > Retreat Director Cynthia Mack

Retreat Director Cynthia Mack

Cynthia Mack came to TOPS because of a birthday present that didn’t fit — and she’s never left. She’s been a TOPS Retreat Director for 21 years and a 27-Consecutive-Year KOPS. She’s best known for her knowledge of the Food Exchange System, her sense of humor and her reliability as someone who can always be counted on.

Q: What first brought you to TOPS?

Growing up, my godfather used to send me clothes in the mail for my birthday. It was so exciting as a kid to get a package in the mail with your name on it. I remember receiving a pair of slacks and a top, and the slacks didn’t fit, so my “thinner” friend got them. Fast forward 20 years. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) had done his homework and checked out the size of my clothes in my closet and went shopping to buy me a blazer and skirt. He got the right size, but what he missed was the style. All the skirts and dresses in my closet were A-line, as I had a small waist and large thighs, and he purchased a pencil skirt. He was excited to see me try it on, but when I tried it on, it didn’t fit. All those childhood memories came flooding back. Eleven days later, I joined TOPS.

Q: What made you want to become a Retreat Director?

I went to my first retreat in November 1988. It was in Saskatchewan. I learned the importance of drinking water, and I met Floanna Clark. Over the next number of years, I attended retreats with Imogene Welch and Barbara Cady. At each retreat, I learned more about myself. Imogene taught me that you don’t have to like everyone, but you need to respect them. Barbara Cady challenged me to be who I was meant to be.

With all of the above in mind, I knew my dream job would be a Retreat Director. I could be a teacher without having a teaching degree, and I could be a public speaker without being priced out of reach. I could inspire, educate and motivate others, and in return, get the same back from them.

Q: What were you most looking forward to when doing virtual retreats?

With the growing popularity of virtual education, it seemed like retreats could fit this category. The best part is that I can communicate with members from all over TOPS.

Q: What can members look forward to at one of your virtual or on-site retreats?

I love teaching the exchange way of eating. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy the motivational topics, but truly seeing people “get it” when it comes to what they are eating inspires me. To me, learning the Food Exchange System is the foundation for taking and keeping off pounds.

I have been likened to a turtle—tough exterior with a soft core. I may not hug or show as much exterior emotion, but know that I take a piece of every retreatant home with me and hold them in my heart. I do have a sense of humor and like a good joke or prank and enjoy having fun.

I love hearing from retreatants or meeting up with them and hearing their successes and accomplishments. This motivates me and confirms why retreats are where I am meant to be.

“I take a piece of every retreatant home with me and hold them in my heart.” – Cynthia Mack, TOPS Retreat Director