Group photo of participants

Mayors from around the world will participate in the yearlong Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

Courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies

Campus & Community

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative announces third class of mayors

3 min read

Yearlong program provides 41 from around the globe with advanced executive training

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative announced on Monday the third class of 41 mayors from around the world who will participate in the yearlong education and professional development program designed specifically for municipal leaders. The participants are meeting with Harvard faculty and management experts in New York City this week for a three-day, immersive classroom experience to kick off the program.

The demographics of the group reflect global trends toward more diverse city leadership. Nearly half are women, with three serving as her city’s first female mayor; more than a third are African American or Hispanic. Nearly half have spent time in the private sector, and 90 percent have state, regional, or county government experience.

The initiative is a collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. City leaders will work with University faculty, staff, and students, alongside experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ worldwide network over the course of the year in the classroom, online, and in the field.

The private sector invests more than $42 billion each year in executive development, but there is no equivalent in the public sector. The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative aims to help fill that void.

“Cities are leading the way on most of the big issues we face, from fighting climate change, to protecting public health, to creating new jobs and giving people new skills,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and three-term mayor of New York City. “The more we do to support mayors, the faster progress can happen — and that’s what this program is all about. This year’s group brings a wide range of perspectives on shared challenges, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results.”

Participants include: Mohammed Adjei Sowah (Accra, Ghana), Sandy Verschoor (Adelaide, Australia), Kelly Girtz (Athens, Ga.), Hardie Davis (Augusta, Ga.), Richard Irvin (Aurora, Ill.), Steve Adler (Austin, Texas), Matúš Vallo (Bratislava, Slovakia), Byron Brown (Buffalo, N.Y.), Lori Lightfoot (Chicago), Mary Salas (Chula Vista, Calif.), Scott Brook (Coral Springs, Fla.), Eric Johnson ’98 (Dallas), Nan Whaley (Dayton, Ohio), Jenn Daniels (Gilbert, Ariz.), Eckart Würzner (Heidelberg, Germany), Steve Williams (Huntington, W.V.), Danene Sorace (Lancaster, Pa.), Leirion Gaylor Baird (Lincoln, Neb.), Satya Rhodes-Conway (Madison, Wis.), Jacob Frey (Minneapolis), Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga, Ontario), Yxstian Gutierrez (Moreno Valley, Calif.), LaToya Cantrell (New Orleans), Ras Baraka (Newark, N.J.), Nuatali Nelmes (Newcastle, Australia), David Holt (Oklahoma City), Kate Gallego ’04 (Phoenix), Nicholas Gradisar (Pueblo, Colo.), Claudio Castro (Renca, Chile), Hillary Schieve (Reno, Nev.), Kim Norton (Rochester, Minn.), Lovely Warren (Rochester, N.Y.), London Breed (San Francisco), Miguel Trevino (San Pedro, Mexico), Adrian Perkins, J.D. ’18 (Shreveport, La.), Rick Kriseman (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Anna König Jerlmyr (Stockholm), Jane Castor (Tampa, Fla.), Reed Gusciora (Trenton, N.J.), Rafał Trzaskowski (Warsaw, Poland), and Brian Bowman (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada).

“The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative provides an opportunity for mayors and their teams to share best practices with one another in a setting that encourages the free exchange of ideas and the thoughtful application of knowledge,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “We are delighted to create a nutrient-rich environment in which those who shape the future of cities across the country and around the world have an opportunity to leverage the considerable intellectual capital of our faculty.”