Los Angeles Urban League Makes History With Appointment Of First Woman Chief Operating Officer


The highly respected non-profit executive makes history by becoming the first woman Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the legendary civil rights organization as it begins its second century of service to underserved communities in Los Angeles County.


Ron Carter | | (626) 345-1413

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, January 12, 2023:  Cynthia Mitchell Heard, a highly respected leader in nonprofit, has joined the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) as its Chief Operating Officer (COO).  The announcement was made by Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, President and CEO of the perennial civil rights organization.  The appointment is a historic one for the iconic organization, with Ms. Heard becoming the first woman to hold this leadership position at LAUL.

“We are excited to have Cynthia Heard as our new Chief Operating Officer,” said Ambassador Lawson.  “Ms. Heard has an extensive background and experience in the non-profit world and her accomplishments in bettering the lives of disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles are admirable and remarkable.  We are looking forward to her leadership as we move the Los Angeles Urban League into its second 100 years of service.”

Cynthia Mitchell Heard previously served as Vice President of Business Development and Communications  for the YWCA Greater Los Angeles (YWCA, GLA), creating and helming unprecedented social impact campaigns which serve as a blueprint for systemic change.  Ms. Heard created a myriad of public/private, state, local and federal partnerships to design innovative community and operational collaborations throughout Los Angeles County to fund supportive services. During the COVID 19 pandemic, she developed key funding mechanisms through her steadfast efforts and assisted with promoting economic stability through public private workforce development, community engagement and securing resources to improve disenfranchised communities that experienced lack of access.

Prior, Ms. Heard served as Senior Executive Vice President of Programs for Children Uniting Nations (CUN) where she developed national collaborative stakeholder partnerships and created statewide bi-partisan advocacy initiatives that focused on new avenues to break down the barriers that surround at-risk/foster youth and marginalized families.

“It is my honor to join President & CEO, Michael Lawson, and the entire team at the Los Angeles Urban League,” said Cynthia Heard.  “I am truly looking forward to embracing the mission of LAUL and the commitment of this stellar team as we continue the advancement of the ongoing community engagement programs, economic stability/self-reliance, civil rights advocacy and the workforce enrichment of our marginalized and disenfranchised communities throughout Los Angeles.”

Cynthia Heard received her Master of Education from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. She is a distinguished board member of California Women League of Voters, University of Southern California- Black Alumni Association, KIS Foundation (Sickle Cell) and International Black Women Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI).

About Los Angeles Urban League

Los Angeles Urban League serves, educates and empowers African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self-reliance and civil rights by providing targeted social programs and advocating for issues that benefit our communities. Visit and follow Los Angeles Urban League WebsiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter

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