Betty Folliard is the co-owner of Strategy Partners, a business and political consulting firm founded in 1999. Betty is highly skilled in leadership, public speaking, public policy development, advocacy, sales, product development, fund raising, marketing and media relations in both the business and political arenas. Her fundraising acumen includes raising significant dollars for nonprofits, local, state and national organizations, grassroots initiatives and political campaigns.
In 2007, she took a leave to serve as community representative in the Office of Congressman Keith Ellison. There her portfolio included education, trade missions, suburban issues, faith issues, the environment and women's issues. She led the 5th Congressional District Congressional Arts Competition that served as a model across the country.
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, one of six children, Betty attended schools in Palo Alto, California. A high achieving student, she graduated from Stanford University and was then was awarded her MFA from Wayne State University. Trained as a classical actor, her early career spanned teaching, acting and directing, with some work in business on the side. Her theatrical credits include a USO Tour for the troops in the Far East sponsored by the American Theatre Association and Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, performing in an off-off Broadway Maxim Gorky play in New York and directing a G.B. Shaw play at the Guinness Players Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
After the births of her three children, she turned her expansive energy to improving education and focusing on the quality of life issues in her community. In 1991, she won election to the Hopkins District 270 Board of Education, where she served for five years, two years as vice chair, during which time she helped with a successful $48 million bond referendum. At the city level, she served on the Strategic Planning Committee for Economic Growth of Hopkins. She was instrumental in sourcing funding for schools, churches, theatres, political organizations and environmental groups through strong advocacy and fundraising efforts.
Community leadership propelled her into state elective office. In 1996, Betty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives where she brought to bear considerable knowledge of local issues, a passion to improve the quality of life of her community and a strong background in education policy. In her six years (three terms) in the Legislature, she served on the House Education Committee, House Higher Education Finance, Government Operations and Veteran Affairs, Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Committee, House Environment Committee and both Health and Human Services Policy and Finance Committees. She chaired the Teacher Preparation Subcommittee and served on several commissions including the Commission on the Economic Status of Women. These and other legislative accomplishments led to her appointment as vice chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Environment Federal Issues Committee, influencing policy at the national level. Because of her advocacy for women, Folliard was honored to be the keynote speaker at the National Women Work! annual conference in the District of Columbia.
Service to the community, nation and world is a lifelong commitment for Folliard, as demonstrated by three recent mission trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance; opening clean water wells and building a house for a family of ten in La Jeune, Haiti through Rotary, World Vision, and Haiti Outreach; and more recently in October of 2012, through Habitat for Humanity, travelling to Mozambique to construct three houses for single mothers afflicted by AIDS.
Her community involvement has included Golden Valley Rotary International Foundation Chair, Hopkins Rotary, Interlachen Park Association President, Valley Townhome Association President, Child's Play Theatre Board, Chamber Music Society of Minnesota Board. She is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. She currently serves as chair of the board for People Responding In Social Ministry; chair of the board of directors for Gender Justice, a nonprofit law firm; and a member of her Minneapolis neighborhood residents' association board and as a member of the board of Think Again Minnesota. She founded THE SALON, an organization for Minnesota women elected higher officials. She serves as president of the Women Leadership Coalition; in this role she recently recruited and led a Minnesota delegation of fifty women and a few good men to the PDA/ERA Day of Action on Capitol Hill and We Are Woman #Rally4Equality2014 on the United States Capitol west lawn in the District of Columbia. Betty was chosen as a 2014 Changemaker by the Minnesota Women's Press for her tireless efforts on behalf of women to achieve equality.