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From Managing Funds to Managing Diplomatic Relations

U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman started his career in Investment Banking

Bruce Heyman
Former United States Ambassador to Canada

Vanderbilt MBA 1980

Owen changed the course of Bruce Heyman’s life in more ways than one. He and his future wife, Vicki, met in a New Venture Creation course taught by longtime professor Ed Bartee (where they also were introduced fellow students who would become some of their closest friends). “Our first date,” Heyman recalls, “was Lamar Alexander’s governor’s ball.” 

Owen also opened the door for Heyman to a career with Goldman Sachs. He joined the firm after graduation as an investment banker based in Chicago. Five years later, he became a vice president and in 1999 was named the firm’s Managing Director of Private Wealth.

Then Heyman’s career took an interesting turn when President Barack Obama nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to Canada. After winning Senate confirmation in 2014, he went from managing funds to helping manage the nation’s relationship with a neighbor and close ally. During that time, Vicki served as an American cultural envoy in Canada, leading cross-border conversations related to the arts, social innovation and youth engagement. 

Meanwhile, the Heymans stayed closely involved with Vanderbilt, where their two daughters followed them as students. Bruce has served as President of Owen’s Alumni Board and on the Board of Visitors, while Vicki has served on Vanderbilt’s Alumni Board.

After Bruce stepped down from his post in 2017, the Heymans combined their business and international expertise to co-found Uncharted, LLC, a “social impact accelerator” that provides resources to help social entrepreneurs build coordinated, multi-dimensional movements to tackle problems such as food deserts, urban poverty and discrimination.

In 2019, Bruce and Vicki published a memoir, The Art of Diplomacy, about their experiences in Canada. “In the current political climate,” they noted, “we need diplomacy more than ever.”