Executive Director, LeaderSpring
Cynthia brings over 25 years of experience in leadership, management, public policy, philanthropy and community building for social change. Most recently, as Executive Director of Oakland-based LeaderSpring, she leads a nationally-recognized organization for strengthening equity-driven leaders and their agencies on the front lines of combating poverty. LeaderSpring awards a two-year, on-the-job fellowship to strengthen over 220 leaders, primarily executive directors who are women and people of color. In turn they annually serve over one million clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. LeaderSpring provides customized leadership development to dozens more established and emerging leaders across California.
Previously, while a member of the professional staff team of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Cynthia led a national initiative that continues to promote philanthropy by and among communities of color. Prior to that, she was awarded a one-year fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation. In the 80’s, Cynthia was a legislative aide to several Bay Area elected officials, helping shape state policy in affordable housing, consumer protection and K-12 education.
Cynthia is a certified coach by the International Coach Federation, and an advisor on leadership to national organizations such as the Fund the People Project and the Management Assistance Group. Her most recent publication is A Bolder Form of Leadership. Cynthia has been appointed to national and local nonprofit boards, including the Leadership Learning Community and National Hispana Leadership Institute.
Cynthia earned her undergraduate degree in Government from Pomona College and Master of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. As a second-generation Mexican American, whose first home was public housing in East Los Angeles, Cynthia passionately dedicates her career to developing solutions to root causes of injustice and inequality. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, aquatic exercise, and cooking with family and friends.