|22 Nov 2022
|The Judging Academy (GSP)
President and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation
Cynthia Bissett Germanotta is president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, which she launched with her daughter Lady Gaga in 2012. Born This Way Foundation supports the mental health of young people and works with them to build a kinder, braver world. Under Cynthia's leadership, Born This Way Foundation has reached tens of thousands of young people across the country and around the world, launched innovative youth-focused programming such as teen Mental Health First Aid, and conducted cutting-edge research to improve the understanding of mental wellness and the impact of kindness.
Cynthia and Born This Way Foundation have been the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2019 Behavior Research Foundation’s Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health for their advocacy work surrounding mental health, the 2018 Children Mending Hearts Global Changemakers’s Award for their commitment to positive change through empathy, and the National Association of School Psychologists Special Friend to Children Award.
In May 2019, the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) appointed Cynthia as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health. In this role, she works to educate and promote healthier lives, improved workforces, and overall mental health on a global scale. Cynthia also served on the Board of the Empowerment Initiative at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is an alumni member of the Board of Governors for the Parsons New School of Design.
Cynthia is a former telecommunications executive whose career in sales and management spanned 25 years. A graduate of West Virginia University, she earned her master’s degree in public administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., which she considers invaluable to her work with the foundation.
Born and raised in West Virginia, Cynthia now resides in New York City with her husband, Joe Germanotta. Joe and Cynthia have two wonderful daughters, Natali and Stefani, and are owners of a charming NYC neighborhood restaurant, Joanne Trattoria. In her free time, Cynthia enjoys writing, walking, and practicing ballet, a lifelong passion. She is honored to work alongside young people, hear their stories, amplify their voices, and collaborate on ways to make the world a kinder and braver place.