Boston, MA — Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) today announced that Elisabeth (Beth) Babcock, who has led the nearly 200-year-old organization since 2006, will retire in 2022.

Babcock was hired in 2006 to lead the merger of two historic Boston-area organizations focused on economic mobility: The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union and Crittenton, Inc. She successfully led the newly-created organization, Crittenton Women’s Union, to become the first “Action Tank” in the field of human services: a place to design, build, and test new approaches for creating economic mobility, and then share them with other organizations and governments.

Under Babcock’s leadership, the organization developed and piloted an entirely new way of working with struggling families: Mobility Mentoring®, an economic mobility coaching model that integrates all the domains of life necessary to move forward. Outcomes from the new model were so positive that dozens of organizations started to inquire about how they too could implement it.

In 2014, Babcock led a radically different approach to scaling the successful Mobility Mentoring model: instead of franchising, the model would be shared openly with other organizations through a learning network called the Economic Mobility Exchange (the Exchange)™. Today, the Exchange has over 145 organizational members, including nonprofits and government agencies from more than 35 states and five countries, which collectively have reached over 300,000 individuals with Mobility Mentoring.

Under Babcock’s leadership, EMPath (which rebranded as such in 2016) has become a true leader in economic mobility in the U.S. EMPath is recognized for applying rigorous evidence and brain science to program practice in the field, and has been sought out for advising by the World Bank, the European Union, the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among others. In 2019, EMPath won the Schmidt Futures/JFF $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge, a first-time award for U.S. organizations capable of raising the annual earnings of 100,000 citizens each by $10,000 or more.

Recently, EMPath has secured nearly $4.5 million in new funding to support an ambitious strategic plan, which includes a rigorous evaluation of the Mobility Mentoring model and expanded scaling efforts in identified sectors. Babcock notes that the stability that comes with this expansion plan and its funding factored into her decision:

“I have served at EMPath for over 15 years and have never seen us in a stronger place in terms of our programs, impact, finances, and future strategy. For this reason, I have decided that this coming year is a good time for me to depart. I have no doubt that the organization will grow and prosper without me, and I look forward to watching proudly as EMPath continues to improve the work of the field of human services and create greater opportunities for low-income families to get ahead.”

“Beth’s visionary leadership has transformed EMPath from a small local organization to a national leader in economic mobility. She has brought together an incredibly large network of not just practitioners, but also academics and policymakers who are all learning from each other about the best way to move families forward. EMPath has become the leading expert on what works for families who are struggling,” said EMPath Board Chair Corinne Larson. “It has been an honor, privilege, and delight for this Board to support Beth’s great work as president. She has made EMPath what it is today, and we will miss her. But we also know that Beth has built a strong cadre of leaders at the organization who will continue its vital work, and lift it to new heights.”

Babcock and EMPath’s board have agreed to a plan that ensures that Babcock will continue to lead the organization as President & CEO until June 2022, by which time a successor will have been identified. The board is launching a national search for her successor, chaired by board members Corinne Larson and Robert Reilly.

The search for Babcock’s successor is being facilitated by national search firm Eos Transition Partners. If you would like to learn more about the role and/or if there is someone you’d like to recommend for it, please directly contact Principal Partner, Nancy Jackson, at For the complete position profile and application guidelines, please read this document from Eos.