PHILADELPHIA — January 19, 2023 —Today, the Committee of Seventy’s Board of Directors announced that Chief Operating Officer Lauren Cristella has been named Interim President of the Committee of Seventy. While a Transition Committee evaluates recommendations to make to the full board, Cristella will lead the organization and retain the title Chief Operating Officer.
Cristella, who joined the Committee of Seventy in 2018, succeeds outgoing President and CEO Al Schmidt, who was appointed by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro to serve as Secretary of State. In her role as Chief Operating Officer of the Committee of Seventy, Cristella has led public, partner and youth civic engagement and voter education efforts, including the highly successful WeVote initiative, and will continue that leadership as Interim President.
“I’ve been privileged to work closely with Lauren for years, so I know the importance of having her steady hand guiding the organization,” said board chair Eric Kraeutler. “Lauren has been responsible for many of the Committee of Seventy’s greatest successes in recent years. She is a trusted leader and unquestionably the right person to continue advancing Seventy’s mission through this transition.”
Over the last five years, Cristella has succeeded in expanding the Committee of Seventy’s reach and impact. She launched Seventy’s first membership program; has been responsible for board engagement and development, with a focus on diversifying the board, as well as fundraising, including producing Seventy’s major annual event for 600+ attendees and raising more than half a million dollars in sponsorships; created and executed the annual Women in Public Leadership event; manages the Buchholz Fellowship program; launched and produces Studio C70 webcasts with prominent civic leaders, partners and thinkers; and managed the redesign of C70’s website.
“For more than a century, the Committee of Seventy has promoted, supported and facilitated election integrity throughout Pennsylvania,” said Cristella. “I’m honored and humbled to continue this work at a moment when it’s never been more important for our democracy and our civic institutions.”
Cristella has dedicated her career to promoting active citizenship. Before joining the Committee of Seventy, she spent seven years at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was director of student affairs and strategic operations. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years managing education and special projects for the National Constitution Center.
“There is clearly no person better suited to lead the Committee of Seventy into its next chapter than Lauren,” said outgoing President and CEO Al Schmidt. “As we will work at the Pennsylvania Department of State to make our elections more free, fair, safe and secure, I feel tremendous confidence knowing that we have such a driven and talented partner in Lauren Cristella and the Committee of Seventy.”