Betsy Whitaker

U.S. Foreign Service Officer (ret.)United States
Elizabeth "Betsy" Whitaker

Elizabeth "Betsy" Whitaker retired from the Department of State at the rank of Minister Counselor. Ms. Whitaker’s last position before retiring was as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada and Mexico in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, from 2005 to 2007. Prior senior assignments in Washington included (founder and) Director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2004-2005), Deputy Executive Secretary in the Department’s Executive Secretariat (2003-2004), and Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2001-2003.

Ms. Whitaker served overseas tours in Portugal, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. She joined the Foreign Service in 1984, as a public diplomacy officer with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). She is a graduate of the Senior Seminar. Ms. Whitaker received numerous Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.

Upon leaving the Department, Ms. Whitaker joined a division of L-3 Communications, where she provided support to Department of Defense strategic communications efforts directed at overseas audiences. She returned to the Department of State in late 2009 as a senior advisor to Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith McHale, and served until 2012. Since then, she has performed inspections for the Department of State’s Office of Inspector General, and is currently a grievance analyst for the Department’s Bureau of Human Resources. Ms. Whitaker has also worked with Edel Communications in teaching speechwriting and media skills to Department of State officers, and has partnered with Meridian International to teach media skills and corporate diplomacy workshops. She has been an adjunct professor of public diplomacy at Georgetown University for seven years, and was also on the faculty at George Washington University from 2012 to 2017.

Ms. Whitaker received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

She is married to Kevin Whitaker, currently U.S. Ambassador to Colombia. They have a son, Daniel, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and now an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.