Cynthia Frisina is a global expert on disability advocacy, family education and partnerships. As a successful marketing and nonprofit professional, Cynthia has committed her career to improving the lives of others through education and strategic outreach. Cynthia spent more than 20 years as an award-winning marketing professional for Fortune 100 brands and healthcare companies, before dedicating her focus on nonprofit organizations serving people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
When Cynthia’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy she launched Reaching for the Stars. A Foundation of Hope for Children with Cerebral Palsy in 2004, and grew it into one of the largest parent-led foundations of its kind – bridging the gap between education, advocacy and parent physician partnerships for families with a presence on three continents. Cynthia led the establishment of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day in the United States and has provided Congressional testimony and transformational input regarding the need for federal Cerebral Palsy research over the past decade.
Cynthia also served as the Executive Director of one of the leading US Paralympic Sport Clubs, transforming it into a leader in the field of adaptive sports, recreation and training. Cynthia’s leadership resulted in being honored by the United States Olympic Committee as the Rings of Gold Outstanding Sports Programin the US two years in a row and brought humanitarian adaptive sports programs to Africa, South America and the Middle East.
As a result of her impact, Cynthia has been awarded numerous national and international awards including being named one of ten “Champions of Change” by the White House Office of the President of the United States in 2016 for championing opportunities for marginalized girls, including girls of color and girls with disabilities. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgia State University.
Cynthia serves on the global advisory board for the Cerebral Palsy International Sports & Recreation Association (CPISRA), and several other advisory boards in the field including the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). She holds a BA from University of Illinois and Masters degrees from Northwestern University.