New mayors start strong in Harvard classrooms

Mayor-elect Phillip Jones, M.B.A./M.P.P. ’21, of Newport News, Virginia, (center) met California mayors-elect Juan Gonzalez of San Leandro (left) and Sheng Thao of Oakland (right).

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Twenty-five mayors arrived at Harvard on Nov. 30, some just days after winning their elections, for a newly designed Program for New Mayors. Offered by the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University with Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and the US Conference of Mayors, the program builds on a longstanding seminar for new mayors that originated at the IOP in 1975.

The Program for New Mayors is the most recent product of Mike Bloomberg’s commitment to the University to establish the Bloomberg Center for Cities, a global hub for advancing research, learning, and collaborations with city leaders on local leadership and governance.

Classroom and panel discussions were led by program co-chairs Mitchell Weiss, the Richard L. Menschel Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School; Kimberlyn Leary, associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; and Jorrit de Jong, Emma Bloomberg Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Bloomberg Center for Cities.

Many of the participating mayors and mayors-elect traveled to Cambridge from the West coast, particularly California and Oregon. The average size of participating cities is 227,000 residents. Together the 25 attendees represent more than 5.3 million people.

Two attendees are Harvard alumni: Phillip Jones, M.B.A./M.P.P. ’21, of Newport News, Virginia, and San Jose, California mayor Matt Mahan ’05.

Sessions at Harvard Kennedy School were designed to help the new leaders make the most of their roles, gaining strategic insights for leading cities and building out their city hall team and organization in the first days and months of their administrations.

The program provides an opportunity to share promising approaches and learn from fellow mayors about ideas that are already helping to enhance the quality of life in cities around the world.

Mayors and mayors-elect at the Program for New Mayors:

  • Ashleigh Aitken (Anaheim, CA)
  • Melanie Kebler (Bend, OR)
  • Ty Penserga (Boynton Beach, FL)
  • Hollies Winston (Brooklyn Park, MN)
  • Steve Babick (Carrollton, TX)
  • Jim Penniman-Morin (Cedar Park, TX)
  • John McCann (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Barbara Buffaloe (Columbia, MO)
  • Catherine Moy (Fairfield, CA)
  • Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, AZ)
  • Harvey Ward, Jr. (Gainesville, FL)
  • Mark Salinas (Hayward, CA)
  • Rex Richardson (Long Beach, CA)
  • Craig Greenberg (Louisville, KY)
  • Richard Bissen (Maui, HI)
  • Ulises Cabrera (Moreno Valley, CA)
  • Phillip Jones (Newport News, VA)
  • Sheng Thao (Oakland, CA)
  • Brett Smiley (Providence, RI)
  • Eduardo Martinez (Richmond, CA)
  • Chris Hoy (Salem, OR)
  • Helen Tran (San Bernardino, CA)
  • Matt Mahan (San Jose, CA)
  • Juan Gonzalez (San Leandro, CA)
  • John Carli (Vacaville, CA)