Betsy Cohen (MBA 1978)



     Betsy Heller Cohen (Harvard MBA ’78) has a second career that is driven by passion. A passion to use the skills from her first career in corporate America to help the St. Louis region prosper from an economic and cultural point of view. Betsy was originally from St. Louis and attended Wellesley College and Harvard Business School. After two years in Baltimore in marketing at Black and Decker while husband Bruce Cohen (Harvard ’76, Johns Hopkins Medical School ’80) finished medical school, Betsy and Bruce moved to St. Louis. Bruce did his residency in ophthalmology at Washington University/Barnes and was chief resident before beginning his private practice in ophthalmology, currently located in the CAM Siteman building. Betsy started a 30 year career in marketing at Nestle Purina, becoming the first woman Vice President in Marketing. She worked with many international people and programs. You And, she created and ran a regional coalition for the pet welfare community. She was also a board member for the United Way.

     Following that career, Betsy was hired in 2013 as the founding Executive Director for the St. Louis Mosaic Project, a program within the World Trade Center-STL of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. The goal of the Mosaic Project is to attract and retain foreign born people in our region, working with immigrants including new corporate arrivals from Bayer to immigrant entrepreneurs at Cortex or in neighborhood businesses, international students, international spouses of corporate and university hires and some refugees. The St. Louis region only has 4.7% foreign born people versus a national number of almost 14% foreign born. This means we are missing economic and cultural growth. She is part of a team of 2.5 full time employees, and works with hundreds of economic development and immigration-related organizations in St. Louis and nationally. There are program metrics for foreign born growth and a steering committee of community leaders from universities, businesses, nonprofits and governments. And, Betsy gets to attend many international events here and abroad, plus she and Bruce get to sample many of the international restaurants in the region to help their owners to thrive! (Try Sultan Mediterranean in the Grove!)  She is on the national network of leaders for Welcoming American, a national organization for welcoming programs in the US and abroad.

     Along the way she has been a board member for the St. Louis Crisis Nursery and is currently on the business school advisory board for the SLU School of Business. She is also on the Advisory Board for Yield Lab agricultural accelerator in the 39 North Agricultural innovation center in Creve Coeur and on the Washington University advisory group on sustainability. She and Bruce have two sons who are married in Atlanta and Los Angeles, with two grandchildren and one on the way!