Chief Operating Officer
Cynthia Hess is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Americans United. In her role as COO, Cynthia oversees the organization’s operations and serves as a member of the senior leadership team. She works closely with the President and staff to develop and implement organizational systems and processes to maximize efficiency and support future growth.
Prior to joining AU, Cynthia was the Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a Washington, DC-based think tank focusing on economic policies to improve the lives of women and families. Before stepping into the role of COO, she served as the Associate Director of Research at IWPR, where she led the research team and directed projects on numerous issues, including religious activism, the intersections of economic security and reproductive health, and women’s political participation, among others.
Cynthia started her career by teaching as a visiting faculty member in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her academic work focused on the historic peace churches, feminist and liberation theologies, and trauma studies. She received her Ph.D. in Theology and M.Div. from Yale University and her A.B. in Religion from Davidson College.