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Q&A with International Board Chair Cathy Beck


Date: April 8, 2021
Cathy Beck

Cathy Beck

In November, Cathy Beck was elected the Chair of the International Board.

A longtime supporter and leader of Weizmann Canada and a Weizmann Institute Board member, Cathy is intimately familiar with the Institute and carries the legacy of her late parents, Tom and Mary Beck, whose strong leadership and philanthropy left an indelible mark on the Weizmann Institute campus. A native of Toronto and married to Dr. Laurence Rubin, Cathy loves music and science, and devotes herself to philanthropy and hands-on leadership in those realms, in Canada and at the Weizmann Institute. 

Where does your devotion to the Institute originate?
I was introduced to the Weizmann Institute at a young age by my father, and with time my devotion has only deepened—first to Weizmann Canada, then to the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. Now the campus is my second home and the scientists I have known for a long time are valued friends. I cannot wait to get back to see them.

You’ve been involved with the Weizmann Institute for many years, and done so much. What more could you possibly do for Weizmann?
The scientific work and ambition at Weizmann is endless, which places great expectations on our administrative and philanthropic capacities. As Chair of the International Board, I’m working with fellow Board members to make concerted and consistent efforts to expand our network of friends and supporters. We are building on an excellent base, but always trying to draw in more people, more interest. COVID has made for many new challenges, but it’s through challenges that we adapt and excel. I see opportunities and great potential here. That’s why I’m excited about the new ‘friend-raising’ campaign, which I am certain will bring new supporters to the Institute.

How are you spending your time during the pandemic, if you are not able to travel?
I always want to meet people in person—that’s a legacy of my work in the business world. But now that we can bridge great distances instantly, through Zoom, we’re able to maintain contact with greater ease. I am using the opportunity to introduce myself to lay leaders in all the committees and societies, and they’re doing the same. I’m talking to them about what speaks to them most about the Institute, and working with them on that basis to expand the circle of friends.

What are the challenges?
We have a strong worldwide support network that is rightly called the Weizmann family because when we get together, in person, we are that close. My immediate challenge is to strengthen our ties, pandemic notwithstanding, and leverage those ties for the benefit of our scientists.

What are the areas in which you see Weizmann making an impact in the next 10 years?
Rather than choose from a list of endless possibilities, let me say that what strikes me about the Weizmann Institute is that when someone comes here to engage with a specific area of interest —whether it is food security, energy exploration, or disease and treatment — that person is just as likely to end of up in meetings and collaborations that bring them an entirely new perspective and engages them in areas that are totally new. That’s true of our supporters and of our scientists. It happens to me, time after time. That makes its own kind of impact— infinitely renewable