Executives and Staff Leadership
Key People You Should Know
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AAUW serves a diverse global community of members and supporters taking positions on the fundamental issues of the day.
Whether we’re fighting to protect the legal rights of those facing discrimination, advocating for public policies and laws that are fair to women, developing programs that support more women leaders in schools and communities, or funding educational opportunities for graduate women, AAUW works to break through barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
Learn more about AAUW jobs and internships, benefits, and application procedures. Our dedicated staff serves a diverse community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance. JOIN US!
Meet Our Executives and Staff Leadership
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)
Vice President, Fellowships, Grants, and Global Programs
Vice President, Finance
Vice President, Information Technology
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Interim Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations
Vice President, Major and Planned Giving
Vice President, Membership and Direct Marketing
Vice President, Leadership Programs and Campus Initiatives
Corporate and Foundation Partnerships
Vice President, Administration
Art and Editorial
Sheila has the responsibility of creating and implementing policies and procedures encompassing all aspects of AAUW human resources, including employment, compensation and payroll, orientation and training, placement, staff planning and development, benefits, and employee relations.
Since joining AAUW in March 2013, Sheila has provided leadership and strategic support in the design, management, and implementation of effective human resource strategies, services, and functions, including ways in which AAUW can attract, retain, motivate, support, and develop employees.
Prior to joining the AAUW team, Sheila served as the deputy director of human resources at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a Washington, D.C.-based regulator. Before that, Sheila held various positions in human resources in the D.C. area, working for nonprofits as well as in the private sector.
Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, in sociology. She’s also a registered, certified yoga instructor. Sheila stays busy by being an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, teaching yoga, managing her family’s activities, and curating a style blog.
Gloria Blackwell is AAUW’s vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs, overseeing and executing AAUW’s annual $4 million in fellowships, grants, and awards. She also directs AAUW’s international collaborations with the Clinton Global Initiative, the United Nations, and other global organizations. Before joining AAUW in 2004, she was the director of Africa education programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE). Gloria also managed fellowships programs during her decade at IIE and has held positions as a Peace Corps staff member and volunteer in Africa. She holds a master’s degree in education and human development from George Washington University, a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and studied at the American University in Paris. Gloria is committed to supporting opportunities and empowerment for women and girls globally.
Tom is a certified public accountant with more than 30 years of experience working with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Tom has worked with organizations such as Worldwatch Institute; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Brookings Institution; the Aspen Institute, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; Centre Development and Population Activities; and Overseas Development Council.
In addition to his work in Washington, D.C., Tom has traveled extensively to countries such as Kenya and Romania to establish and monitor financial reporting systems, to implement systems of internal control, and to provide financial training and technical support. Tom’s career has spanned a wide range of activities, including providing auditing, tax services, consulting, and outsourced controller/CFO services.
Tom has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Mason University with a minor in finance. Tom currently resides in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he has lived for more than 30 years. In his free time, he enjoys gardening and woodworking.
Fong Cheng is the vice president of Information Technology and has more than twenty years of experience providing business software support to non-profit organizations. He oversees operations of AAUW’s computing, web, membership, fundraising, and financial systems. Prior to joining AAUW in 2001, Fong was the IT Director for the National Board of Medical Examiners in Philadelphia, PA. Fong has a master’s degree in applied mathematics and statistics specializing in data and statistical analysis.
Kimberly Churches is AAUW’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Kimberly comes to AAUW from the Brookings Institution, where she strategically guided the public policy organization, providing vision and problem-solving skills, expansive partnerships and external relations, and fundraising as the managing director. Before joining Brookings, Kimberly was an associate vice chancellor at the University of Denver, a director of development at the University of North Florida, and a division director at the American Heart Association. She has extensive experience working collaboratively on education (K–12 and higher education) as well as capacity building among grassroots groups and national and international nonprofits. Churches earned her BA at Florida State University in English Education and the Certified Fund Raising Executive affiliation in 2002.
Cordy Galligan is AAUW’s vice president of Marketing and Communications and has more than 35 years’ experience in the for- and non-profit sectors. After graduating first in her class and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Economics from Catholic University, Cordy initially went into the banking industry but soon moved to managing regional operations for some of Washington, D.C.’s top staffing firms. Her passion for animals led her to create and secure funding for what is now one of the largest nonprofit animal rescue groups in the DC Metro area.
A dynamic speaker (decades of stage experience helps!) Cordy brings a sense of humor as well as content expertise to any topic. She is also responsible for creating some of AAUW’s most memorable and successful video campaigns, helping raise awareness of AAUW as a leader in the national conversation on women’s issues.
As AAUW’s top policy advisor, Anne drives the organization’s advocacy work. She connects with stakeholders and policymakers on AAUW’s policy priorities and directs AAUW’s field strategy. She supported AAUW’s successful work to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (including the Campus SaVE Act). All press inquiries should be sent to Amy Becker, Political Media Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202/785-7756.
She has a bachelor of arts in economics from Davidson College and a master of public policy from George Mason University.
Toni Johnson is the vice president of major and planned giving at AAUW. Her nonprofit development career began as youth director for the American Red Cross in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was born and raised. She is committed to making a difference and believes that organizations are only as good as the people in them. Toni brings a wealth of development and management experience and expertise to AAUW. Over the past 25 years she has worked as executive director for the American Red Cross, the American Diabetes Association of Greater New York, and Anderson House (a half-way house for women in recovery in New Jersey) and served as northeast regional development director for Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). She lives with her husband in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and has two grown children. Toni loves the beach, sunshine, travel, and the gym.
Christy has spent the last 20 years working in the association community, developing a wealth of experience encompassing the membership, fundraising, direct marketing and communications, and program fields of association management. In both U.S. and international markets, Christy has been responsible for developing and implementing strategies that enhance the level of recruitment, retention, fundraising, customer service, and interactions between associations and their members, prospects, and branches or chapters.
In addition, Christy has been a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University and Golden Gate University and has presented at many industry and association management conferences as well as AAUW states and branches. As a member of the American Society of Association Executives Membership Council, she has authored numerous pieces, most recently the chapter “Membership Communication” in ASAE’s book Membership Essentials (2016). Christy is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, has the Certified Association Executive credential, and is an AAUW member. An avid social media user, Christy loves engaging others to share her passion for equality.
Abigail Sara Lewis is the vice president of campus leadership programs at AAUW. Previously, she worked at Barnard College for six years, most recently as the associate dean of pre-professional advising. She was also the associate director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard, where she oversaw a curricular and experiential women’s leadership program, co-founded the first international undergraduate research journal focused on women’s leadership, and supervised student delegations that organized leadership training workshops for high school students in China, India, Brazil, and France.
Abigail has worked and taught at Rutgers University, New York University, and the CUNY Graduate Center. She holds a doctorate in history from Rutgers (with a certificate in women and gender studies), a master’s from UCLA, and a bachelor’s from Columbia, the latter two in African American studies. Her research on the YWCA’s multiracial activism in the immediate post-WWII era was published in the anthology Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement. She also chairs the Collegiate Women Leadership Educators Alliance, an affiliate of AAUW, and serves on the board of the Public Leadership Education Network.
Deborah Abel Lucci is the Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships at AAUW. Lucci came to AAUW from the National Geographic Society, where she was Senior Director of Global Corporate Partnerships. In this role, she was responsible for securing new partnerships for the society and worked with many brands including Google, PNC, Estée Lauder, Rolex, Royal Bank of Canada, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Southwest Airlines.
Prior to National Geographic, Lucci worked in partnership roles for organizations including Feld Entertainment, the League of American Theatres and Producers, SFX Corporate Consulting, the NFL Players Association, and the USA canoe and kayak team. She also worked in financial services for Riggs Bank, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and Deloitte.
A native of Washington, D.C., Lucci holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and a master of business administration from The George Washington University, where she also served as an adjunct professor of sports marketing.
Ruby Peters has been employed with AAUW for more than 30 years and started her career with AAUW at the 2401 Virginia Avenue headquarters. Ruby spent her first 14 years in the Human Resource Department and the past 19 years in Administration Services. As the Vice President of Administration, she oversees all facilities maintenance, services, and operations, and is the liaison with building tenants.
Anne Elizabeth Powell
Anne Elizabeth Powell, the vice president of art and editorial at AAUW, is a native Washingtonian but has lived in other places, including Iowa, where she became a hot air ballooning enthusiast. She holds a bachelor of science in journalism, with a concentration in news reporting, from the University of Maryland and a master of professional studies in publishing, with a concentration in digital publishing, from The George Washington University. She began her career as a reporter for daily newspapers and then switched tracks to magazine publishing, working for the Hearst Corporation in New York City, where she was an editor for House Beautiful’s Special Publications, and Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, where she was the founding editor of Traditional Home magazine. After returning to the Washington, D.C., area she has served as the editor in chief of Mid-Atlantic Country, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, and Civil Engineering magazines. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, is a dedicated news junkie and devoted animal rescuer, loves the beach and loves to travel, has studied the pyramids of Egypt, and tries to go hot air ballooning once a year.