AAUW Names Gloria L. Blackwell as New CEO

The AAUW Board of Directors has selected Gloria L. Blackwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of AAUW, effective October 18, 2021.

Gloria L. Blackwell

Blackwell, who currently serves as AAUW’s Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, was chosen for the role because of her deep executive experience and her impressive record of innovative contributions to AAUW’s mission, according to AAUW Board President Julia T. Brown 

“As AAUW proudly celebrates 140 years of advancing equity for women and girls this year, we know that Gloria is the right leader at the right time,” Brown said. “Her outstanding talents are unparalleled assets to AAUW. The Board and all our members are privileged to partner with Gloria to continue to uplift our mission and vision of equity for all.”   

Blackwell, who is also AAUW’s main representative to the United Nations, brings more than 30 years of nonprofit, international and government experiences to her new position. Among her many accomplishments is her 17-year management of AAUW’s highly esteemed fellowships and grants program—awarding more than $70 million in funding to women scholars and programs in the U.S. and overseas. 

Blackwell has also been the driving force behind AAUW’s signature programs, including its salary negotiation trainings, which have reached nearly 190,000 nationwide. She has initiated and built partnerships with major funders, including The Coca-Cola Foundation and Arconic Foundation. She has worked on pay equity initiatives with public officials in Washington D.C., New York City, Boston and Pittsburgh, as well as with numerous other state and municipal partners. She also worked with the National Science Foundation to increase girls’ participation in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.    

At AAUW, Blackwell established the Alumnae Recognition Award to honor outstanding alumnae. She has represented the organization across the U.S and globally, including in Dubai, Morocco, Tunisia, Sao Paulo and Rio, Brazil. Most notably, Blackwell has significantly expanded the AAUW’s outreach to girls and women of color. 

“I am incredibly honored and grateful to the Board for valuing my commitment to global gender equity, my leadership at AAUW and the contributions of my high-performing teams,” said Blackwell, who is the second woman of color to lead AAUW in its 140-year history. “I stand in a unique place, and I plan to use my skills and expertise to build a new and stronger vision for AAUW. I vow to grow our impact across all communities and expand our commitment to infuse equity and inclusion in everything we do.” 

Prior to joining AAUW, Blackwell worked at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Washington D.C., leading and managing girl’s education programs in Africa and mid-career fellowships for global professionals. Her lifelong desire to make a difference through international education and gender equity was inspired by her service as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon and the Country Desk Officer at the D.C. headquarters for five Sub-Saharan countries. 

Blackwell is the recipient of multiple honors and awards and has led and served on numerous boards and advisory groups, including the UNA-USA Council of Organizations Executive Committee, the International Book Bank, Latina SciGirls and the Canadian Organization for Development Through Education (CODE). She holds a master’s degree education and human development from The George Washington University, and bachelor’s degree in foreign service from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. A fluent French speaker, she also studied at the American University in Paris, France.