Patti Bellinger Announced as Chief of Staff and Strategic Advisor to Harvard President Bacow

Harvard president Larry Bacow has named Patricia Bellinger, former executive director of the Center for Public Leadership (CPL), as his chief of staff and strategic advisor.

"All of us at the CPL are thrilled for Patti and the university as she joins the ranks of Harvard’s leadership," said director David Gergen. "Larry himself came to CPL a few years ago as our Rita E. Hauser and Gustave M. Hauser Leader-in-Residence, a program that Patti created. We are grateful that Patti was not only a wonderful leader while here, but that she will now bring her strengths to serving the entire university community."

PattiPhotos: Patricia Bellinger (left); moderating a Harvard JFK Jr. Forum event with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards (2016)
Credit: Tom Fitzsimmons

Bellinger joined CPL as its excutive directon in 2013. During her three years at the center it experienced a burst of growth: a doubling of fellowship programs, dramatic expansion of financial aid and leadership of new diversity and inclusion initiatives. Added Gergen, "Patti’s leadership was critical to all of these initiatives, as she brought high standards of excellence, integrity and a fierce commitment to our students. Throughout all of our successes and challenges, she was a trusted partner."

Bellinger's relationship to Harvard dates back to 1979, when she first enrolled as an undergraduate at the college. Her career has included leadership roles at British Petroleum and Harvard Business School, where she served as executive director of its executive education program before assuming her role at CPL. Most recently, Bellinger mentored graduate students in her highly popular class, “The Art of Leading in a Diverse World”.

Read more about Bellinger's appointment here or below.

New Chief of Staff: Patti Bellinger will advise, support President Bacow
Harvard Gazette
July 9, 2018

Patti Bellinger has been named chief of staff and strategic adviser to Harvard President Larry Bacow, effective Sept. 1. A 1983 graduate of Harvard College, Bellinger most recently was an adjunct lecturer and senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, where she was previously executive director of the Center for Public Leadership. Bellinger also has served as executive director of executive education at Harvard Business School.

“Patti brings tremendous experience and a distinguished background to the chief of staff role,” said Bacow. “She has been a highly effective leader in both the corporate and nonprofit world. I enjoyed working with her at the Center for Public Leadership and am delighted to welcome Patti to our team, and I am confident we will benefit greatly from her wisdom, insight, and thoughtful, strategic approach.”

Bellinger, above, led the Center for Public Leadership from 2013–2017, a period of tremendous growth and expansion, more than doubling the number of student fellowships, quadrupling the reach of the leadership development portfolio, and playing a pivotal role in building the center’s endowment.

As chief of staff, Bellinger will help advance the president’s University-wide agenda, assisting on major initiatives. She also will oversee the administrative and operational activities of the Office of the President.

“It is an honor to join President Bacow’s team and to support his vision for Harvard,” said Bellinger. “This University has been in my life for almost 40 years, since I first arrived as a freshman in 1979. I’m grateful for this new opportunity to give back to an institution that has been a formative influence in my life.”

Bellinger led the Center for Public Leadership from 2013–2017, a period of tremendous growth and expansion, more than doubling the number of student fellowships, quadrupling the reach of the leadership development portfolio, and playing a pivotal role in building the center’s endowment. As adjunct lecturer, she has taught “The Art of Leading in a Diverse World: Skills, Insights, and Best Practices,” while contributing to the Kennedy School’s executive education program.

Bellinger also has held senior leadership roles in the private sector and has served on the boards of public companies and nonprofit organizations spanning various countries and disciplines, including the pharmaceutical industry, theater, the energy sector, global business, and startups.