Skip links

About Betsy Hodges

Learn More
Betsy Hodges

About Me

I am a student of whiteness, a recovering alcoholic, and an advisor to clients about how to navigate whiteness and resistance in racial equity work. I was the 47th mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In that job, especially in the crucible of officer-involved shootings, I put into practice first-hand everything I knew about race, white people, and policy change. In my life since leaving elected office, I use everything I have learned to create a framework that more effectively brings white people fully into the work of ending racism.

My focus on white people and my background in government, non-profits, and the private sector means I approach racial equity work informed by real-life experience in leadership and change as well as thirty-plus years of exploring and transforming my relationship to my own white identity.

I pursue my work on with clients by drawing on:

  • Twelve years as Minneapolis Mayor and City Council Member, including bringing 21st-century policing to Minneapolis, leading the way for a citywide sick-leave ordinance, and systemic change for small business’ experience with the city;
  • Decades of experience in community organizing and development, including with Progressive Minnesota and the Minnesota Justice Foundation;
  • Work in recent years with mayors and cities around the country, including with partners like the Obama Foundation, National League of Cities, Cities United, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Mayors Innovation Project;
  • My Senior Fellowship with the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity, my Senior Fellowship with the Othering and Belonging Institute, my 2018 Residential Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute on Politics, my Advisory Board Memberships for the African American Mayors Association, Right To Start, and the MIT Science Policy Review Journal;
  • My academic work in Sociology studying race and class, including a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

I also have over thirty years of sobriety and healing from childhood sexual abuse under my belt. This recovery work, and the challenges that prompted it, honed my compassion and gave me an eagerness to be of service to people. My perspective, building on both my professional and personal experiences, is compelling and makes me distinctly adept at figuring out how to help white people retreat from our investment in whiteness and reclaim our full humanity.