Cecilia M. Cardesa-Lusardi is responsible for overall business strategy with particular emphasis on community development, fostering strategic alliances, guiding internal and external communications, strategic growth initiatives, process improvement initiatives, and public relations. Cecilia shapes organizational strategy through executing on innovation and visioning of the Company while establishing the critical framework that identifies breakthrough growth opportunities with measurable, quantifiable impact, in both the near-term and long-term.
Ms. Cardesa-Lusardi understands what challenges lie on the horizon, makes plans for implementing the proper actions, and articulates the strategy to all stakeholders. She balances the development of innovative ideas and delivering sustained results, while maintaining a stable and collaborative state of mind. As such, she translates big-picture thinking into operational strategies as well as transforms ideas into strategic initiatives. This is done through creative teamwork and collaboration at which she is expert. Cecilia is tasked with working with diverse groups of community, internal and external stakeholders ensuring that each group will be motivated and dedicated to the journey of seeing the Company's vision through fruition.
Cecilia has worked with some of our community’s toughest issues specific to human rights, refugee resettlement, human trafficking, women’s economic development, at-risk youth issues in the U.S. and child soldier issues abroad. In 2011, Dress for Success Worldwide hired Cecilia to create and execute the strategic turn-around management of its local Philadelphia affiliate along with creating a sustainable growth strategy, sound financial forecasting and organizational positioning. Prior to serving as CEO of Dress for Success Philadelphia, she spearheaded the change management and holistic turn-around of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as a senior member of leadership team at its U.S. Headquarters. Before that, Cecilia served as the Executive Director of Voices without Borders, Inc. Ms. Cardesa-Lusardi began her career working for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).
Cecilia uniquely bridges her international experience into the strategic alignment and direction of local organizations through her human rights and venture creation lens. She has served as Delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women and Hong Kong’s Social Enterprise Summit. Ms. Cardesa-Lusardi is a member of Worldwide Who’s Who List, has received numerous awards and recognition for her commitment to community development, and has served on numerous local, regional and national boards.
Ms. Cardesa-Lusardi studied Political Science at Villanova University. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the impact of globalization in international non-governmental organizations: role of the Internet in human rights. Her first graduate research thesis focused on Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. The thesis for her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania was on the role of storytelling in social value creation. Cecilia’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania is expected to be completed in May 2014.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ms. Cardesa-Lusardi resides in Center City Philadelphia.