Equity in Leadership: The 2021 New Mayors Cohort

New Mayors Cohort 2021 participants

Mayors are on the front lines of our community’s most daunting challenges.

In the last two years alone, mayors have been managing multiple crises in their cities — the COVID pandemic, racial justice uprisings, climate disasters, and an unprecedented number of houseless residents.

As a result, there has been an urgent demand for peer connection and executive leadership development that brings an equity focus for addressing these issues. Newly-elected mayors, especially those that are the ‘first’ in their community—first Black mayor, first LGBTQ mayor, and/or first woman-identified mayor—face even more challenges.

A New Class of Mayors

This is why we hosted our second New Mayors Cohort in 2021, which started in July and wrapped up in early December. This series brought together a diverse cohort of 14 newly-elected mayors from across the country, including: 

  • Rita Ali , Peoria, IL
  • Lacey Beaty, Beaverton, OR
  • Nathaniel Booker, Maywood, IL
  • Felicia Brunson, West Park, FL
  • Kate Colin, San Rafael, CA
  • Waylyn Hobbs Jr., Hempstead, NY
  • Farrah Khan, Irvine, CA
  • Nikylan Knapper, Maplewood, MO
  • Tishaura Jones, St. Louis, MO
  • Michelle Nelson, Flossmoor, IL
  • Sangeetha Rayapati, Moline, IL
  • Katie Rosenberg, Wausau, WI
  • Vicki Scaman, Oak Park, IL
  • Emma Sharif, Compton, CA
  • Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown, NY

“The wealth of insight provided by being in this position was worth it.  Just to be able to glean from others, share experiences and hear solutions to common issues was a blessing to me!” – Mayor Felicia Brunson, West Park, FL

Equity-focused Curriculum

This 6-part series provided mayors with tangible strategies for effectively leading their cities, plus plenty of time to connect, share about their experiences, and learn from peers facing similar obstacles. A few of the topics explored include:

  • Sharing the unique challenges mayors face and strategies to address them
  • Demonstrating effective and equitable leadership
  • Using social media to communicate your message
  • Bringing a trauma-informed lens to leadership
  • Leading ethically
  • Centering strategies for self-care and resilience

“The New Mayors Cohort is a must for newly elected Mayors. A very informative, innovative, supportive experience, happy to have joined.”  – Mayor Waylyn Hobbs, Jr., Hempstead, NY

Thank you again to our mentor mayors that joined us to share their wisdom, including Mayor Stephen Benjamin (Columbia, SC), Mayor Melvin Carter (St. Paul, MN), Mayor Breea Clark (Norman, OK), and Mayor Steven Reed (Montgomery, AL), and former Mayor Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis, MN).

What’s Next

Our in-person meetings provide both newly-elected and long-standing mayors the opportunity to learn from and with their peers. We invite all mayors to join us at the Winter Meeting, January 21-22 in DC!