Get to Know Anne Betzner, Vice President of Programs and Evaluation

Anne Betzner, second from left, in India with Children’s HeartLink colleagues and the Newborn Foundation.


Your role is a new one for Children’s HeartLink. Tell us more about it: why it was created and what you hope to contribute and accomplish.

Children’s HeartLink has a powerful, tested model that we know works. This position was created to use what we know to help us reach more children. Over the next year, our Programs team hopes to position us to meet the ambitious goals of our Strategic Plan – to develop 50 Centers of Excellence and reach 1 million children with pediatric heart disease.

Tell us a little about your background and why it led you to Children’s HeartLink.

For the past 20 years I have helped nonprofit organizations and governmental bodies to understand their successes and identify areas for improvement. I love finding the right questions that, when answered, identify the levers for change that contribute to the common good. I love Children’s HeartLink’s mission – who wouldn’t want to dedicate their time to helping ensure that children around the globe receive the care they need to repair their hearts!

Which experiences from your past have influenced you most and have the most application to your present role?

My first professional experience was at a six-person statistical and evaluation consulting firm. I helped the firm grow to more than 20 employees and developed long-term, 10-year relationships with clients. This experience helped me develop an ethos of being mission-driven, and innovation-focused. I am excited to bring these skills to Children’s HeartLink.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my job is ensuring that my colleagues have the information and tools they need to excel. The most challenging part is having the patience to pace new ideas to the time and resources available!

What does a typical day at work look like?

Meetings, a lot of meetings. And writing, a lot of writing. Some Excel worksheets. Day done. 😊

What motivates you, and why did you choose this line of work?

Working towards social justice has always been an important part of my life and the life of my family. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to incorporate that into my career.

What inspires you?

The volunteers and professionals at our partner sites inspire me with their passion, dedication and creativity to serve as many children as possible.

What are you most passionate about?

Aside from social justice, I seek to see the world clearly, from multiple perspectives, and to treat those around me with kindness and respect.

Who is a hero of yours and why?

Nelson Mandela and his principled approach to justice that changed the world. President Obama for his grace, discipline and willingness to take the long view.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love living in Minneapolis and exploring our parks and libraries with my 6-year-old son. We enjoy going to all kinds of arts and cultural events for kids, and I also try to get him to eat vegetables. But because I am tired after a long day at work, what do I do on an average weeknight? Cook, then watch Netflix. 😊

What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

In one day I met Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Susan Faludi, Debbie Harry, Tom Brokaw and Mary Travers.

Tell us about your family.

My husband and I live in South Minneapolis with our 6-year-old son and Toby, our King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Our son, Will, loves karate, so we have a lot of karate chops in our house.

Anne Betzner, Ph.D., oversees program development and standardization, program impact measurement, quality improvement and research efforts. Before joining our team she served as senior research scientist at Allina Health. Prior to that she was vice president at Professional Data Analysts. Anne has a master’s degree in policy analysis and a doctorate in educational psychology, quantitative methods in education, both from the University of Minnesota.