By BioSTL | August 25, 2022
ST. LOUIS – Ben Johnson, Senior Vice President of Programs at BioSTL, has been selected for a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship through its 2022 USA Justice Fellows, a new program that sends mid-career American leaders abroad to enhance their perspectives and strategies for combatting entrenched racial discrimination in their own communities and professions.
Ben Johnson will travel to Brazil and Chile this Fall to meet with top experts in their fields to explore how second-tier regions develop, attract, and retain entrepreneurial and workforce talent – especially from historically excluded communities – in the face of changing workplace dynamics, like remote work, the gig economy, and evolving work-life balance.
“I am honored and humbled to join a network of leaders from around the world dedicated to global collaboration and the application of lessons and relationships that can help increase economic opportunity and address systemic inequalities here in St. Louis and across the United States,” Johnson said.
“These dynamic leaders join a global network of Fellows who for nearly seven decades have been striving to create a world more peaceful, prosperous and just,” said Robert M. Gates, EF Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Defense. “Their work advances the core justice pillar of our founding mission.”
Enforcing racial equality through the rule of law, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent troops from the U.S. Army’s 101 Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 to protect the Constitutional right of Black students to attend a segregated all-white high school. More than six decades later, amid a national reckoning of relations between the races, Eisenhower Fellowships is advancing the legacy of its namesake with its inaugural 2022 USA Justice Program.
“The Justice Program employs our historic foundation of direct dialogue to enhance understanding and shape solutions to the vexing inequalities that disproportionately affect African-Americans and other communities of color,” said George de Lama, EF President.
“We at BioSTL are very proud of Ben’s accomplishments and his leadership in increasing inclusion within St. Louis’ entrepreneurial and innovation community,” said Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL. “I look forward to the learnings and global network that Ben will bring back to enhance our own work in making St. Louis stronger.”
Ben’s participation in the EF Justice Fellows work builds on his personal and professional journey to understand and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in St. Louis through BioSTL’s Inclusive Entrepreneur Development Programming, its internal, culture building to promote inclusion and equity in its activities, and deepening partnerships with Black-led organizations, like Harris-Stowe State University, the Small Business Empowerment Center, and WEPOWER. Ben is also a founding board member of the Education Equity Center of St. Louis.
Fellow St. Louisan Jason Purnell also has been selected as a 2022 USA Justice Fellow. For the biographies of each Fellow, please click here.
Since 2001, St. Louis nonprofit BioSTL has laid the foundation for the region’s innovation economy with a comprehensive set of transformational programs that advance St. Louis’ leadership in solving important world challenges in agriculture, medicine, healthcare, and other fields. BioSTL has introduced nationally acclaimed initiatives in startup creation and investment (BioGenerator), strategic business attraction (GlobalSTL), physical environment (including the Cortex Innovation District and BioGenerator Labs), entrepreneur support, seed and venture capital, a diverse and inclusive workforce, and public policy. Find us online at biostl.org and follow us on twitter @BioSTL.
About Eisenhower Fellows
Now in its 69th year and named for America’s 34th president, EF brings together innovative leaders from across geographies and sectors to tackle big challenges and improve the world. Since 1953, more than 2,400 mid-career leaders from 115 countries have benefitted from the unique experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship.