Working woman: Robin Belsky

Robin Belsky and Neil Kwatinetz
Robin Belsky and Neil Kwatinetz (By Courtney Davis Early)

Robin Belsky, 53, is a consultant in the pharmaceutical and medical industry, a global market researcher and CHANA volunteer.

She is originally from Pikesville. She grew up in a family where her father’s side had a strong traditional Jewish identity. She was influenced by that and attended Beth Tfiloh Congregation’s Hebrew school.

“Today, I’m not going to say I’m a very religious person, but I am one of the more religious in my friend group,” Belsky said.

Belsky’s first step in her career was as an intern for a congressman from Michigan. “Part of the population there was Jewish so [part of it was that] I worked with them [and Israeli affairs.] Then I wound up working for [former] Gov. [William] Schaefer of Maryland in a fellowship in college,” she said. “The governor had approached me about a program in Israel, where I had to write essays about the Middle East conflict and defense-related issues.”

In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, she worked on Capitol Hill, focusing on Medicare and health care policy. She attained two master’s degrees, an MBA in global finance and marketing and a master’s in international business, while advocating for health care reform. She then started doing strategic global marketing for medical products.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m a policy wonk,” Belsky said. “What you don’t know is my father was an attorney for the federal government and very influential. He put a thumbprint on today’s policies. … He didn’t inspire my career, but we would talk about global affairs at the dinner table, and so I grew up hearing about policies and law, and it became a natural inclination.”

In the mid-90s, Belsky helped launch Prozac for Eli Lilly and Company onto the international market, which prompted other pharmaceutical competitors to try recruiting her. She started getting so many consulting job opportunities that she decided to start her own business. Belsky founded Taverngreen Associates, which offers health care market research and health care policy consulting services from Baltimore.

But there is still more for her to do.

“I have thought hard about going back to school for law; it is in my blood,” she said. “I have always had a dream of running for political office. It’s a lofty dream, but the love of law and policy is my fabric and makes me who I am.”

She continues to use her policy expertise with Jewish organizations like CHANA. She sits on the executive board and general board, where she works on state and federal policy for victims of abuse.

She is also a member of the Jewish Professional Women of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. There, she initiated the Letters to My Younger Self event, an annual panel of career women to share personal and career advice.

This falls in line with another of her goals: to start a mentor-mentoree program for women who want to start businesses, women like herself.

“You have to teach others everything you’ve got and then give them wings to fly,” Belsky said.

While hard at work on her career, Belsky had taken a break from the dating scene to prioritize her self-identity, until a friend convinced her to try JDate.

“I’m a heavyset girl so I was nervous,” Belsky said. She even put that she was “rubenesque” on her profile. Despite her fears, matches connected with her frequently, and she ended up having a date almost every night for a month.

However, she became exhausted of failing to meet someone who shared her values.

Belsky’s mom talked her into trying it for one more month, though, so she signed up for a holiday sale. The stars aligned, and at the end of the month deal, Belsky forgot to cancel her subscription. That next day, she matched with Neil Kwatinetz. She went to the Harbor with him for a first date, and when she came home, she told her best friend, who was confident she had met her future someone.

At 49, Belsky married him.

Finding love, though, doesn’t mean she’ll forget herself.

“What I really value above everything is honesty. Honesty and loyalty,” she said. “Be honest with yourself and others, and be loyal to yourself and others.”

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