Cynthia F. O'Connell was named Secretary of the Florida Lottery by Governor Rick Scott on February 9, 2011. Secretary O'Connell has an extensive background in the public and private sector including significant brand development at universities and financial institutions. She returned to the Florida Lottery after previously leading the agency's efforts to implement instant and online games shortly after its creation.
Secretary O'Connell is focused on ensuring that "sound business principles" continue to guide the Florida Lottery and maintain it as one of the most successful lotteries in the country, while modernizing the 25-year-old brand to ensure long-term viability. In addition, she is committed to continuing the Florida Lottery's mission of generating as much additional funds as possible for Florida's education system.
To commemorate the agency's 25th anniversary, Secretary O'Connell launched the "Year of the Flamingo" in 2012, a comprehensive series of celebrations leading up to the unveiling of the brand's new logo, interactive website, new partnerships and promotions, along with interactive community events across the state.
Her penchant for public service and solid belief in education is long-established through her late husband, Stephen C. O'Connell, who was a former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and sixth president of the University of Florida. Secretary O'Connell spearheaded the efforts to create the Stephen C. O'Connell Supreme Court Reading Room at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, creating study space for law school students. She is an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Florida as well as a member of Florida Blue Key, the University of Florida honorary leadership society.
Secretary O'Connell was an inaugural member of the University of Florida's Board of Trustees and served 10 years in that capacity, helping modernize the university's overall public image. She also served as General Manager/Senior Vice President of Hill & Knowlton, a global communications and marketing firm located in New York, whose 70th office she opened in Tallahassee in 2004. In addition, she was a program manager for three Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia; Nagano, Japan and Sydney, Australia.
Secretary O'Connell presently serves as Chairwoman of The Florida House on Capitol Hill, the first and only State Embassy in Washington D.C.
A graduate of Florida State University, Secretary O'Connell's undergraduate studies were centered in the fields of Communications and Journalism. She holds a Certificate in post-graduate financial services marketing from the School of Banking at Louisiana State University.