The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has appointed Betty Cruz as its next President and CEO. For over 88 years, the Council has served as a nonpartisan forum for global issues and a pathway for a more globally minded region. Within her first 100 days, Cruz will assemble a transition team and conduct a listening tour to shape a vision for the Council that is inclusive, relevant, and accessible. Cruz will assume her role with the World Affairs Council on January 21st.
“Betty is well positioned to lead the Council at a time when global connectivity is becoming more essential than ever,” said Stephen Lackey, who chairs the Board at the Council and led the search committee for a new chief executive. “Her experience with the international community in Pittsburgh and track record of building partnerships is essential to the expansion of the Council’s legacy. I look forward to working together to promote the importance of global issues and the continued success of the Pittsburgh region.”
Currently the leader of Change Agency, a social enterprise which she founded in 2016, and Project Director for All for All, an immigrant inclusion initiative, Cruz has nearly 20 years of experience in community outreach, communications, partnership-building, and program management, including the development of citywide initiatives for City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.
“My vision is to uplift the history of the Council – one that is centered on global education – and expand its reach to new audiences across generations, races, cultures, faiths, ideologies, and economic backgrounds. I am humbled to get to do this work together with our community, experienced team, and Board to continue building a World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh that is locally relevant, nationally recognized, and globally connected. The need for fact-based, nonpartisan, and meaningful ways to learn about world affairs remains as palpable today as ever,” said Betty Cruz.
“I am elated by our Board’s decision to hire Betty Cruz as our next president and CEO,” said Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise, who served as a member of the Board’s search committee. “She will most certainly do all the important work that nonprofit executives are expected to do, such as cast vision, develop the Board, raise money, manage staff, and deliver excellence. But Betty will also engage Pittsburgh’s emerging diverse populations, widen the Council’s lens to see less visible cultures, and expand our program offerings to include those on the periphery. Betty is the leader who will prepare the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh for our 90th anniversary.”
Cruz seeks to chart a path forward for the Council that is representative of the region’s changing demographics, and relevant on both the global and local stage. Her vision for the Council is one rooted in partnerships with both new and existing stakeholders, with a focus on contextualized local relevance, and an intergenerational, multicultural appeal.
Originally from Miami, Florida, Cruz is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and is a first-generation college graduate. She has received various accolades from local and national organizations, including Pittsburgh Magazine 40 Under 40, 2014 YWCA Racial Justice Awardee in Government, and BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. Additionally, she serves on several local boards including Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Global Minds Initiative. Cruz is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
About the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s mission is to provide a pathway for a more globally minded region, offering students and the community a learning space that covers key international issues. The Council is a member of the World Affairs Council of America, a network of more than 90 nonprofit, nonpartisan member Councils around the country.
The Council’s award-winning Global Education Program prepares students throughout the region to succeed in an interdependent world. Through its global engagement and leadership events and activities, the Council strives to educate and inform opinion leaders, decision-makers, professionals, and the community at large.