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Cindy Southworth

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'93 Health and Human Development | Executive Vice President, National Network to End Domestic Violence
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Cindy Southworth

Cindy Southworth, a 1993 Penn State health and human development alumna, believes that people perform better when they have time to do what gives them joy.

In her current role as the executive vice president and interim CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), this means making sure there is “space in workloads to attend an event on disability rights, serving LGBTQ survivors, data privacy, or whatever makes a colleague’s heart sing.”

In Southworth’s own life, following her passions translates to helping prevent domestic violence and helping survivors. NNEDV works on signature projects that address public policy, capacity building, housing, technology, legal issues, HIV and domestic violence, and economic justice.

Southworth is also responsible for training corporations and working in collaboration with nonprofits worldwide. Southworth gained years of experience in this field by working at the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Southworth served as the founder and director of the Safety Net Technology Project, where she addressed technology’s relationship to victim safety and perpetrator accountability. She has held positions on the safety/trust advisory boards of Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, and Uber. Southworth went on to receive a master’s degree in social work from the University of New England.

Her advice to current undergraduate students is that “extracurricular activities were equally as important for my professional development.”

As a resident assistant, Lion Ambassador, and member of the theatre programs at both Penn State Berks and Penn State University Park, Southworth learned valuable leadership and time management skills. In her current leadership role, Southworth aims to set priorities for those around her by example. 

Mentorship developed Southworth as a leader and professional. For this reason, Southworth enjoys giving back by helping students figure out their future career paths.

“When I look back at my own path, I have concrete advice about the power of getting hands-on experience,” Southworth said.
She encourages students and young professionals to be open-minded because as she has observed, “Being willing to help with mundane and not-so-mundane tasks can open doors to new skills, challenges, and opportunities.”

Southworth participated in the Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow events held September 25–26, 2019.

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