Meet Betsy Cohen – she’s a Gateway to the Future panelist posted 10/10/13

By Jon Franko

In our final panelist feature, we’re “sitting down” with Betsy Cohen. She’s the Project Director of the Immigration and Innovation Initiative at World Trade Center St. Louis.

This is an STL event. Where’d you go to high school?

Ladue High School

Imagine you’re Webster. Define leadership.

Vision, Communication, Collaboration

What traits do you think are most important in a leader?

Understanding and setting direction, listening for building consensus to move forward, setting priorities, empathy

What was your most memorable role as a young leader? Tell us about that experience.

Launching new brands at Nestle Purina. Being part of a team with many national resources and big goals was exciting. We had to determine names, strategies, budgets, directions, communications and execution. As the leader at a young age, it was very exciting.

What do charitable foundations mean to a community, specifically St. Louis?

Foundations see the overarching needs and bring resources toward collective impact solutions. They can fund areas that make important changes. And they provide insights and training to leaders about broader regional needs outside one’s own business arena.

As a leader in the community, what do you look for in young people that you might hire or associate with?

Sense of learning, passion, excitement about the mission. Thoughtful and energetic. A combination of academic learning with street smarts, a willingness to do what it takes to make an impact.

What’s your secret to balancing a healthy personal, professional and volunteer-driven life?

Every year I look ahead and set 2-3 goals for my life, depending on what is happening with my family, my work, my sense of personal goals. I write them down and then use them as my guiding light for priorities in the year. There has always been a community aspect to one of my goals. This keeps me learning and grounded in how to make our region better.

What’s your secret to productivity? Any apps, habits or tactics?

Evernote app to keep track of all topics I need on my iPhone. I look ahead each week to plan folders for each key activity and start a week early gathering the materials I need for that presentation or meeting- I never want to be working last minute as I want to have everything organized. I schedule my workouts a week in advance around other business or personal commitments so I have them on the books and don’t skip them.

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