expert strengthens the Kellogg school position and image
service was as much a part of Betsy Holden's childhood as,
well, the Kraft food products in her family's kitchen.
Holden organized a successful backyard carnival to raise funds
to fight muscular dystrophy. Later she began joining her mother
as a volunteer tutor for disadvantaged children in the Head
Start Program, an activity that foreshadowed her initial career
choice as a teacher.
was a big part of what we did as a family," says the Class
of 1982 graduate, who grew up on Kraft foods and went on to
become one of the company's top executives. "My parents were
invaluable role models for volunteering. It was hard-wired
into my siblings and me at an early age."
president of global marketing and category development, Holden
has found many ways to carry that tradition forward. She has
worked to instill a service mentality into Kraft's corporate
culture, building programs that support employee volunteerism,
diversity and working mothers.
of these, the Working Moms Exchange Network, was launched
by Holden and other female colleagues in the late 1980s. Their
goal: to create a forum for women to share information and
create programs to balance work and family.
was no one in front of us to help us with these challenges,
so we reached out and supported each other," Holden says.
"That group became a model for our company-endorsed council
system, which provides networks and support for employee groups."
is also on the boards of many professional and community organizations,
including Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, the Museum of
Science and Industry, the Ravinia Festival, and the Off the
Street Club, which helps at-risk children on Chicago's West
School has also been a chief beneficiary of Holden's commitment
to service, due no doubt to the school's impact on her life.
working as a public school teacher after college, Holden consulted
for Playskool, helping the company develop toys and games.
She found the work so enjoyable that she enrolled at Kellogg
in 1980 to gain the skills necessary for a career switch.
Holden forged lifelong friendships with faculty and classmates,
including husband Arthur Holden '81, whom she married while
a lot of fulfillment from giving back to other people," Holden
says. "Kellogg helped me make a significant change in my life,
and I want to give back to the school."
has found many opportunities to do just that, dating from
her earliest years as an alum. She and her husband helped
jump-start the Kellogg Alumni Club of Chicago in the mid-1980s.
Since 2000, she has served on the Kellogg Advisory Board,
working with other top business leaders to help set new directions
for the school. Holden also sits on the advisory board of
the Kellogg Center for Executive Women.
she is a frequent speaker at the school. Several times over
the years, she and her husband have jointly addressed the
Kellogg School's incoming class, discussing the challenges
of balancing career and family. Other audiences have included
the F.C. Austin Scholars, alumni and a Kellogg seminar on
branding last fall.
branding seminar, Holden shared her insights on building global
brands. Among her key points: that marketers need to balance
global standardization with local customization — a
strategy that will shift depending on the company, brand and
geographic area. Holden's thoughts will appear in a soon-to-be-published
book featuring Kellogg experts on global branding.
is an incredible patriot of the school and exhibits such leadership
in thinking about marketing issues," says Kellogg Professor
Alice Tybout, who is co-editing the book with
Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing Tim Calkins. "She's always willing to respond to Kellogg and
share her knowledge."
Kellogg thanked Holden by giving her the Schaffner Award,
which recognizes alumni for distinguished professional achievement
and service to Kellogg.
has been able to make her contributions while raising two
children and blazing her unique trail at Kraft, where she
has risen from group brand manager to high-profile roles such
as executive vice president and co-CEO. The key, she says,
lies in "setting very clear priorities."
activities that I have the most passion for and that address
multiple objectives," she explains. "I look for ways to get
my family involved, or areas where I gain professionally at
the same time I give something back."
Kellogg provides many of those rewards, offering friendship,
professional enrichment, networking opportunities and education.
That is why the school continues to benefit from her involvement,
even as other causes compete for her attention.
thing you can do is accept an offer to participate in an organization
and not get involved," Holden says. "Pick fewer things, and
truly get involved in them. You'd rather have more impact
in fewer places and in areas you are truly passionate about."
to Robb Knuepfer '78
to Why alumni give back