Leive began her publishing career at Glamour, where she started as an editorial assistant, and worked alongside Ruth Whitney. After eleven years, Leive left Glamour as Deputy Editor and joined Self magazine as Editor in Chief. During Leive's tenure, Self’s circulation increased by eleven percent. Leive rejoined Glamour magazine as Editor in Chief in 2001.
Under Leive, Glamour has received editorial awards. Further, Glamour's circulation has risen to a rate base of 2.25 million. In 2002, Crain’s put Leive on its "Top 40 Under 40" list, and Leive was also named one of Gotham magazine’s most powerful women under 40 in New York. In 2006, Glamour was named for the first time on both Advertising Age’s "A-List" and Adweek’s "Hot List," each of which recognize strength in circulation, advertising pages, editorial excellence and industry acclaim.
Leive was born in McLean, Virginia. A 1988 graduate of Swarthmore College, Leive was an English Literature major and minored in Religion. Leive lives in New York City with her husband, film producer Howard Bernstein, her daughter, Lucy, and her son, Isaac.
- "Cynthia Leive - 2002 - 40 Under Forty | Crain's New York Business". mycrains.crainsnewyork.com. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
- Redden, Elizabeth (July 2011). "Style and Substance". Swarthmore College Bulletin. Swarthmore College. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- IWMF website http://www.iwmf.org/staff.aspx