Betty Cruz assumed the role of President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in January of 2020. Prior to joining the Council, Betty served as the leader of Change Agency, a social enterprise which she founded in 2016, and Project Director for All for All, an immigrant inclusion initiative. Betty has extensive experience in community outreach, communications, partnership-building, and program management – spanning nearly 20 years. She developed citywide initiatives for Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, managed major accounts for a national nonprofit dedicated to building playgrounds across the U.S., and supported public relations for global brands representing a wide range of industries.
Originally from Miami, Florida, Betty is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. She holds a BA in History from PennWest Edinboro and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) where she was selected for the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership Portfolio Program and U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Portuguese. Betty is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
In recent years, Betty has received the following accolades: 25 Essential Pittsburghers by NEXTpittsburgh in 2019, Pittsburgh Magazine 40 Under 40, Global Pittsburgh Immigrant Champion, 2018 Women of Achievement, 2018 CLASS Community Heroes Award, Islamic Center of Pittsburgh for Humanity Day, The Incline as a Community Leader, Peace Islands Institute and Turkish Cultural Center for Public Service, 2014 YWCA Racial Justice Awardee in Government, and GSPIA 4 Under 40 Distinguished Alumnus. In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf appointed Betty to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.
Betty serves on several local boards including City Theatre, Fred Rogers Productions, VisitPITTSBURGH, GSPIA Board of Visitors, and committees for Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, UPMC, and U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. She is also a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, Next City Vanguard, and Leadership Pittsburgh XXXVII graduate.
In January 2022, Betty adopted Celia from Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh – a playful pup that is pure love. When she’s not hiking with Celia, Betty finds joy in riding her mountain bike, spending time in nature, and laughing with friends. She is currently participating in Exploring the Heart of Freedom, a 16-month program offered by Insight Meditation Society and Barre Center for Buddhist Studies designed to cultivate understanding of the core teachings of the Buddha, deepen meditation practice, and help students embody mindfulness.