Dr. Cynthia Smith serves as the President & CEO of the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in San Diego, California. Smith has led the organization since 2010 and served as Chief Medical Officer for more than a decade. She continues to provide her veterinary expertise for high-priority marine mammal projects, specifically those focused on at-risk, threatened and critically endangered cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises, and whales). She has more than 25 years of veterinary and research experience, resulting in 80+ peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts.
Smith contributed as a lead veterinarian for NOAA’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, and she has continued to study its long-term impact on marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. She served as the General Program Manager for the Consortium of Vaquita Conservation, Recovery, and Protection (VaquitaCPR), an international effort aimed at rescuing the endangered vaquita porpoise from extinction. Smith co-founded JANE: Justice & Action Network for the Earth, which was selected as a top 100 finalist for MacArthur Foundation’s 100 & Change Competition and is part of the Bold Solutions Network. Her nonprofit team provides veterinary, research, and animal care support to the US Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. Most recently, Smith helped launch Operation GRACE, the Global Rescue of At-Risk Cetaceans and Ecosystems, with conservation projects in North America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tufts University. She completed executive education at Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, and Berkeley Haas School of Business. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband, Scott. They have two children, Addy and Mike, and a rescued hound dog, Boone.
Dr. Cynthia Smith was elected to the Board of Trustees on November 4, 2023.