Mayor Benjamin Joined City Leaders From Around The World In Second Class Of Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Yearlong program provides 40 mayors with world-class executive training and coaching to help deliver results for cities

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin went back to school this summer to study leadership and management practices as one of 40 national and international mayors chosen for an intensive education program with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

“I endeavor to be a lifelong learner, so I’m grateful for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative for providing the opportunity to convene with fellow city leaders to exchange ideas, discuss how to best approach pressing issues and gain insight from the wealth of knowledge in the room,” said Mayor Benjamin. “If we desire to continue to create in Columbia a world-class city, we must continue to learn from experts and leaders from across the country and around the world.”


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As a participant in the Initiative’s 2018 program, Mayor Benjamin was part of a class of dedicated mayors attending a program delivered by faculty from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School as well as world-class experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network.

The yearlong program launched with a three-day convening in New York City that began Sunday, which Mayor Benjamin attended at no cost to his city. Each day of the convening, mayors attended classroom sessions focused on the latest management and leadership practices, using case studies and workshops developed at Harvard.

The mayors in attendance were Kathy Sheehan (Albany, NY), Tim Keller (Albuquerque, NM), Jeff Williams (Arlington, TX), Keisha Lance Bottoms (Atlanta, GA), Randall Woodfin (Birmingham, AL), Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada), Vi Lyles (Charlotte, NC), Marian Orr (Cheyenne, WY), Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC), Andrew Ginther (Columbus, OH), Steve Schewel (Durham, NC), Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr (Freetown, Sierra Leone), Mike Savage (Halifax, Canada), Luke Bronin (Hartford, CT), Jan Vapaavuori (Helsinki, Finland), Chokwe Antar Lumumba (Jackson, MS), Andy Schor (Lansing, MI), Joyce Craig (Manchester, NH), Francis Xavier Suarez (Miami, FL), Toni Harp (New Haven, CT), Andre Sayegh (Paterson, NJ), Mauricio Rodas (Quito, Ecuador), Dagur Eggertsson (Reykjavik, Iceland), Levar Stoney (Richmond, VA), Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio, TX), Alan Webber (Santa Fe, NM), Samuel Liccardo (San Jose, CA), Bruno Covas (São Paulo, Brazil), Charlie Clark (Saskatoon, Canada), Jenny Anne Durkan (Seattle, WA), Paul TenHaken (Sioux Falls, SD), Lyda Krewson (St. Louis, MO), Melvin Carter III (St. Paul, MN), Michael Tubbs (Stockton, CA), Ben Walsh (Syracuse, NY), Victoria Woodards (Tacoma, WA), Michelle De La Isla (Topeka, KS), Emil Dardak (Trenggalek, Indonesia), G.T. Bynum (Tulsa, OK), and Andy Street (West Midlands, United Kingdom).

In the diverse class of mayors:

· More than one-quarter of the class are women (11) and half of those are their city’s first female mayor

· Of the U.S. mayors, 33 percent (10) are African-American, with three serving as their city’s first African-American mayor

· Six mayors are millennials, and close to half (18) are in their first year in office

· The mayors represent cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 12 million.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City, collaborated with outgoing Harvard University President Drew Faust to create the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in 2016.

Collectively, Harvard University and Bloomberg Philanthropies aim to help mayors and their leadership teams manage the complexities of running a city and have opportunities to learn from one another. The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative connects Mayor Benjamin to some of the university’s top educators, coaching from experts, a network of peers and technical assistance. The program provides an opportunity to share best practices and learn from fellow mayors about the promising ideas that are already helping to enhance the quality of life in cities around the world.

After the mayors convening, two senior-level city officials nominated by each mayor will attend a similar convening in August and help Mayor Benjamin translate what they learn into organizational changes that improve life in Columbia.

Mayor Benjamin’s participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and that of the two senior leaders – including tuition, accommodation, meals and airfare – is fully funded by the program.

For information, contact the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative:

Warren Dent, Warren_Dent@harvard.edu +1-617-496-4219

Anna Burgess, Anna_Burgess@harvard.edu +1-617-496-4293

About The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative:

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.

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