| by Eva Gudbergsdottir

Kathleen Motzenbecker Headshot

“You always go back to the touchstone of being inspired,” says Kathleen Mot­zenbecker MAIPS ’97. “I would not be where I am without my experience at the Institute.”

Kathleen was honored earlier this year as one of Minnesota’s Top 50 Women in Business. The St. Paul Business Journal described her as the “state’s econom­ic ambassador,” a role she “shines” in. As the executive director of the Min­nesota Trade Office, she is the chief strategist for the promotion of the state and its companies in the global marketplace.

“Minnesota is a global place,” says Kathleen who lists 3m, Cargill, and the medical device industry as major eco­nomic presences in the state that CNBC ranked at the top of its annual America’s top states for business list. In her current position, she has created a foreign direct investment program and is overseeing the establishment of four offices overseas. She recently returned from a trade mis­sion for the governor in Mexico, where she used the Spanish language skills she developed while a student at the Institute.

After graduation, Kathleen headed for the East Coast, starting in New York along with classmate André Gutierrez MAIPS ’97. They’ve remained close friends ever since. “Staying in touch with some­one who knows you from grad school and can help you strategize about your career is profound,” she says. Next she moved to Washington D.C., where she worked for the Council on Foreign Re­lations as D.C. deputy director, served as executive director of the U.S. Commit­tee of the UN Development Programme, and participated in election monitoring for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

My global career started with the training I received at Monterey.
— Kathleen Mot­zenbecker MAIPS ’97

In her hometown of Chicago, where Kathleen then moved to be closer to fam­ily, she worked with Mayor Richard Da­ley on public diplomacy issues and was responsible for Asia relations at the Illi­nois International Trade Office. In 2008 she became the founding director of the Center for Global Peace through Com­merce at Dominican University in Oak Park, Illinois, where she also helped cre­ate a program for MBA students interested in anti-poverty business solutions.

“Then I fell in love with a Minneso­ta man,” says Kathleen, “and moved to this wonderful, progressive state.” All the while, her experiences at the Insti­tute have helped shape her professional choices. “My global career started with the training I received at Monterey,” she says, adding that she is very happy with the merger with Middlebury and the recent name change. “Combining the two schools increases their global con­nections and the Institute is now very well positioned for the future!”

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Eva Gudbergsdottir