Meet Jennifer Bersdale!

Jennifer is a VP in the Public Affairs and Engagement practice at Fleishman Hillard (FH). She spent the first 20 years of her career in the non-profit sector, most recently at Central Reform Congregation as director of advocacy and communications and Missouri Health Care for All as executive director. When she felt it was time for a change, she realized her love was for communications—leading her to her position with FH.  

She enjoys making complex issues clear to people.  For example, many of her clients are health care related, (health policy, health equity, pharma, med tech) and these are not easy subjects to understand. Without clarity, people cannot make good decisions. Jennifer works to bring understanding through clear communication to achieve better outcomes for both her clients and her colleagues. 

Jennifer works with clients large and small on projects such as improving racial equity in the treatment of certain health conditions, educating the public about confusing provisions of health insurance, and advocating for improvements to dental insurance. 

Recently, Jennifer has been involved in many conversations about how organizations and businesses can and should engage with current events. For example, the Dobbs v. Georgia decision and subsequent state abortion bans affect every organization and business in areas ranging from employee benefits to public positioning.  Other issues, such as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, new environmental laws, economic shifts, and even the death of Queen Elizabeth bring their own communications considerations.

According to Jennifer, since George Floyd’s death, businesses have faced significant pressure from employees, clients, and the public to take a position on sensitive or controversial issues. Jennifer finds thinking through how clients could approach these issues makes her work both challenging and interesting.  

Jennifer sits on the board of Cornerstone Center for Early Learning, a phenomenal childcare center focused on low-income families. Her children went there and had a wonderful experience.  

Jennifer is busy with two young children. In fact, one of her hobbies originated when her then five-year-old, desperate for excitement in the early months of the pandemic, declared his lifelong wish was to own a fish. Today, they have five fish tanks and Jennifer leads a Facebook group on caring for fish! She loves animals (in addition to the fish, they have a dog and four parrots,) she sings, paints/draws, and enjoys traveling to the national parks and going to outdoor festivals. Fun fact:  Jennifer and her wife married in the Grand Tetons (when it wasn’t yet legal to marry in Missouri) and then married, legally, under the Arch when the law changed.  

Jennifer's recommendation:  Try Meskerem on Grand, it’s a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant with a broad array of options from vegan to meat and everything in between.