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Cynthia Lewin has combined her interest in the environment and her legal experience with non-profits to help the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in its fight against global warming. As secretary, senior vice president and general counsel of the NWF, Lewin has activated the federation's lobbying subsidiary, allowing the Reston, Va.-based non-profit to have a bigger legislative presence than it's allowed to as a charity.
Since joining the NWF in early 2006, Lewin has proved to be a true player in the non-profit arena. Among her first orders of business was keeping more legal issues in-house, which ultimately reduced outside legal costs by more than 75 percent. She also negotiated the sale of NWF's catalog division. Most recently, Lewin oversaw the legal aspects of a NWF ad in USA Today calling on Congress to enact federal global warming legislation signed by more than 600 sportsmen's groups.
Today, Lewin is a natural leader for NWF's legal department, but she cut her non-profit teeth during a 10-year stint as general counsel for Volunteers of America (VOA), a national organization that sponsors human service programs. During that time she built a legal department at the 100-year-old non-profit and simplified its complex governance system, which gave the organization room to grow and move forward with its mission.