President & CEO
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Year zoo career began:
Cynthia Whitbred Spanoulis is President and CEO for the Department of the Virginia Aquarium. Additionally, she is the Executive Director for the Virginia Aquarium Foundation. Cynthia’s responsibilities include: Providing project and strategic resource management for the Virginia Aquarium including directing all aspects of the most visited cultural attraction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, revenue generation, facility management, overseeing all employees, 1,700 volunteers, memberships, research, and coordinating the non-profit 501 (c) board. Cynthia’s previous position as Strategy and Performance Coordinator for the Department of Economic Development for the City of Virginia Beach included: strategy coordination, marketing, media advertising, public relations, budgeting, and special projects. Cynthia began her career with the City of Virginia Beach in 1996.
Cynthia graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Political Science and Urban Affairs/ Planning, and also holds a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Real Estate and Retail Development School from the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Certificate in Negations from Harvard University. In 2018, Cynthia graduated from the Disney Institute for Leaders. She is also an accredited member of the public relations profession. In 2004 Cynthia was the recipient of the City of Virginia Beach Employee of the Year, and in 2007, Cynthia was recognized by Inside Business as a “Top 40 Under 40” recipient. In 2012, the Virginia Beach Rotary recognized Cynthia as the City of Virginia Beach Outstanding City Employee of the Year. In 2019 She was recognized by Inside Business as Hampton Roads top Women in Business. Prior work experience includes working in the United States House of Representatives for Representative Amory Houghton of the 29th District in New York State as a legislative aide. Cynthia is originally from Corning New York, and is married to Virginia Beach native, Christopher Spanoulis. Hobbies include: Gardening, Crocheting, Traveling, and Reading. Cynthia also loves British TV Mystery shows and her two pet cats!