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Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Announces Fourth Class of Mayors to Go Back to School

Intensive program provides 40 American mayors with world-class executive training to help deliver results for residents

 2020 – 2021 curriculum will focus on recovery from COVID-19

New York, NY: The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative today announced its fourth class of mayors. Forty mayors from across the U.S. were selected to participate in the program, designed to equip mayors with the leadership and management tools to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their citizens. With mayors playing a central role in driving social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s program will focus on the skills required to respond to emerging challenges with an emphasis on equity.

The mayors will attend immersive, online classes taught by faculty from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School and featuring other renowned management experts from across the Bloomberg Philanthropies network. Virtual sessions will cover a range of topics on advancing recovery, from budget decision-making in a time of severe economic challenge and managing a remote workforce to advancing equity and leading civic and resident engagement. Mayors will also receive additional supports for their cities and senior teams, such as training on using data to confront the economic consequences of the pandemic head-on, workshops on public communication, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

“We launched this program four years ago because mayors have the power to make the biggest changes in America – and with cities leading the way in confronting to the COVID-19 pandemic, their jobs have never been more important,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and former three-term mayor of New York City. “This year’s class was chosen because they all believe in finding creative solutions to improve people’s lives, and we’re looking forward to helping them and their teams respond to this crisis – and make their cities stronger, better, and more equitable for years to come.”

The fourth class is made up of mayors who represent a broad geographic and demographic spectrum of U.S. cities and is reflective of global trends toward more diverse city leadership.

  • Almost half (17) of this year’s class are women
  • One third (14) are African American or Hispanic
  • One fifth (8) of mayors are from New England and Mid Atlantic; 11 mayors are from the South and Southwest; 9 mayors are from the Midwest; and 12 are from the West.
  • 40 percent (16) of mayors in this year’s class are in their first year of office
  • Eight percent (3) of mayors are from cities with populations over 250,000 people
  • Over half (21) mayors are from cities with populations under 100,000

Launched in 2017, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is a collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School to equip mayors and senior city leaders with tools and expertise to effectively lead complex cities. Harvard faculty, staff, and students, alongside experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network, work with mayors and senior officials over the course of the program to foster professional growth and advance their capabilities to drive innovation and deliver results for residents.

“The challenges created and revealed by the pandemic underscore the importance—and the urgency—of our work with mayors through the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “At a moment when public health is converging with critical issues of racial,  social, and economic inequality, it is all the more important that we provide opportunities for mayors and academics to come together to exchange ideas and best practices essential to improving the quality of life for residents of our nation’s great cities.”

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 close this gap to help mayors excel.

The fourth class of mayors to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative are:

Scott Singer (Boca Raton, FL); Lauren McLean (Boise, ID); Chris Mehl (Bozeman, MT); Miro Weinberger (Burlington, VT); Deborah Feinen (Champaign, IL); Luke Feeney (Chillicothe, OH); Aja Brown (Compton, CA); Katrina Foley (Costa Mesa, CA);  Monique Owens (Eastpointe, MI); Frank Whitfield (Elyria, OH); Sheldon Neeley (Flint, MI); Indya Kincannon (Knoxville, TN); Frank Scott (Little Rock, AR); Steven Reed (Montgomery, AL);  Shawyn Patterson-Howard (Mount Vernon, NY); Steve Chirico (Naperville, IL); James Donchess (Nashua, NH); Alejandra Sotelo-Solis (National City, CA); Justin Elicker (New Haven, CT); Breea Clark (Norman, OK); Christine Hunschofsky (Parkland, FL); Thurman Bartie (Port Arthur, TX); Mary-Ann Baldwin (Raleigh, NC); Darrell Steinberg (Sacramento, CA); Kimberley Driscoll (Salem, MA); Erin Mendenhall (Salt Lake City, UT); Joe Goethals (San Mateo, CA); Van Johnson (Savannah, GA); Paige Cognetti (Scranton, PA); Joseph Curtatone (Somerville, MA); James Mueller (South Bend, IN); Nadine Woodward (Spokane, WA); James Langfelder (Springfield, IL); David Martin (Stamford, CT); Lori Wilson (Suisun City, CA); Carol Dutra-Vernaci (Union City, CA); Keith James (West Palm Beach, FL); Christopher Cabaldon (West Sacramento, CA); Brandon Whipple (Wichita, KS); and Tito Brown (Youngstown, OH).

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is a collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to equip mayors and senior city officials to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their citizens. Launched in 2017, the Initiative has worked with over 1000 mayors and senior city officials in 350 cities worldwide. The Initiative has also advanced research and developed new curriculum and teaching tools to help city leaders solve real-world problems. For more information, please visit the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative or visit us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTubeTwitter, and TikTok.