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

Yearlong program provides 41 mayors from around the globe with world-class executive training to help deliver results for residents

NEW YORK, NY: The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative today announced the third class of forty-one mayors from around the world who will participate in the yearlong education and professional development program designed exclusively for mayors and city leaders. The forty-one mayors joined Harvard faculty and renowned management experts in New York City this week for a 3-day, immersive classroom experience to kick-off the program.

The third class of mayors continues the program’s reflection of global trends toward more diverse city leadership:

  • Nearly half (18) of this year’s class are women with three serving as their city’s first female mayor
  • Thirty nine percent (16) of mayors in this year’s class are in their first year of office
  • Of the U.S. mayors, more than one third (12) are African American or Hispanic
  • Nearly half (20) of mayors in the class have experience in the private sector, with ninety percent (37) bringing some state, regional, or county government experience to the role.

The Initiative is a collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School that aims to provide an intensive learning experience for mayors and their senior leaders to equip them with the 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 one year in the classroom, online, and in the field to foster professional growth and advance their capabilities to drive innovation and deliver results for residents.

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.

“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.”

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

Mohammed Adjei Sowah (Accra, Ghana), Sandy Verschoor (Adelaide, Australia), Kelly Girtz (Athens, GA), Hardie Davis (Augusta, GA), Richard Irvin (Aurora, IL), Steve Adler (Austin, TX), Matúš Vallo (Bratislava, Slovakia), Byron Brown (Buffalo, NY), Lori Lightfoot (Chicago, IL), Mary Salas (Chula Vista, CA), Scott Brook (Coral Springs, FL), Eric Johnson (Dallas, TX), Nan Whaley (Dayton, OH), Jenn Daniels (Gilbert, AZ), Eckart Würzner (Heidelberg, Germany), Steve Williams (Huntington, WV), Danene Sorace (Lancaster, PA), Leirion Gaylor Baird (Lincoln, NE), Satya Rhodes-Conway (Madison, WI), Jacob Frey (Minneapolis, MN), Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga, Ontario), Yxstian Gutierrez (Moreno Valley, CA), LaToya Cantrell (New Orleans, LA), Ras Baraka (Newark, NJ), Nuatali Nelmes (Newcastle, Australia), David Holt (Oklahoma City, OK), Kate Gallego (Phoenix, AZ), Nicholas Gradisar (Pueblo, CO), Claudio Castro (Renca, Chile), Hillary Schieve (Reno, NV), Kim Norton (Rochester, MN), Lovely Warren (Rochester, NY), London Breed (San Francisco, CA), Miguel Trevino (San Pedro, Mexico), Adrian Perkins (Shreveport, LA), Rick Kriseman (St. Petersburg, FL), Anna König Jerlmyr (Stockholm, Sweden), Jane Castor (Tampa, FL), Reed Gusciora (Trenton, NJ), Rafał Trzaskowski (Warsaw, Poland), and Brian Bowman (Winnipeg, Manitoba).

“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.”

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is a collaboration among Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School. Its mission is to inspire and strengthen city leaders as well as equip them with the tools to lead high-performing, innovative cities. For more information, visit

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 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: 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 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.