Casey Shultz Oct 8, 2021 12:51:25 PM 15 min read

A farewell from Executive Director Casey Shultz

After several years of working with BETA, first as the Director of Twin Cities Startup Week and
then as Executive Director, I am leaving to pursue a new opportunity that will be announced in
the near future.
I am so proud of how BETA has continued to grow and evolve as an organization over the past few years. Just weeks after I stepped into the role as Executive Director, the world shut down due to COVID-19. The future of our events-based nonprofit suddenly seemed unsure, and instead of devoting my time to learning how to be a good executive director I was thrust into emergency triage. Luckily, I assembled an amazing team and we worked tirelessly together to support founders and keep BETA’s mission alive and thriving. I am proud to say that we didn’t cut a single program between 2020 and 2021, and through the team’s grit and tenacity we were able to pivot to virtual events ensuring that we continued to support Minnesota entrepreneurs.

After the events of the summer of 2020, BETA got feedback from Black founders that the
programming wasn’t working for people of color, so we made concrete changes to the Board.
We welcomed local leaders Shonnah Hughes, Clarence Bethea, and Aneela Idnani to help us
shape our offerings and make sure we were reaching diverse communities. We dramatically
changed the experts who educate our cohort companies to reflect the founders to whom they were speaking. We diversified our BETA Cohort selection committee, bringing on local female leaders and members of the BIPOC community to make sure we were recruiting diverse teams and supporting underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs.
TCSW this year was also the most diverse it’s been in its history, bringing attendees in-person
and virtually in percentages that closely match the demographics of Twin Cities. We made
commitments for the festival as well to ensure women and people of color were represented on our panels and at our events, as well as provided speaker scholarships to Black and Indigenous speakers. In 2021 we continued to expand the BETA brand by acquiring to further fulfill our mission of supporting Minnesota founders and telling their stories.
Perhaps my proudest accomplishment is the team I brought together at BETA. I truly believe
that an organization’s culture starts from the top and when I look at my team I see a group of
talented and passionate professionals who embody tenacity, grit, and a growth mindset.
Together we created a culture of trust and respect where we were thrown into a crucible
together and it only made us stronger as we faced the unprecedented times we were living in. At BETA, people can bring their whole selves to work and feel supported in their professional roles and personal lives. I hope that this culture continues to permeate all aspects of the BETA, Twin Cities Startup Week, and brands.

I could not have done all of this without the support of my team, board, partners, and community leaders. There are too many people to thank individually, but please know that I appreciate all  that you have done for BETA and me.
I will provide details of my new position in the coming weeks. I was blessed to land at BETA 
when I first moved to Minnesota. The community welcomed me with open arms and I am
grateful for the warmth and support each of you have given me. It is time for me to continue my support of the Minnesota entrepreneurial community in the next chapter of my professional life while also more directly pursuing my passion in sustainable community development.
In the meantime, Kelly Schultze will serve as interim Executive Director.