Research Project: Breaking down barriers to mayoral success

Calling all Mayors: Take the survey!

This summer, the Mayors Innovation Project is launching a research project aiming to better understand the experiences that mayors face while campaigning for and in the position of mayor. Through this work, we hope to shed light on both the challenges and opportunities mayors face and what resources, people, or support systems have helped them in each stage of this process.

In early June, we will be sending all current mayors a short survey asking about their experiences campaigning for the position of mayor and governing as mayor.


The information you provide in this survey will help us document and share about these experiences, create tools and recommendations for those considering or taking a position of mayor, and inform our programming to support mayors across the country.  

Please reach out to Katya Spear to share your preferred email address or ask questions about the project.

Women Mayors: Sign up for a focus group!

In addition to a survey of all mayors, we are inviting women mayors to participate in small focus groups to surface your stories and experiences. 

Mayors are facing incredible systemic challenges while managing the day to day tasks of running a city, and mayors faced with managing this while encountering daily instances of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like are facing extra scrutiny and unique challenges that distract and detract from both their work and their many successes. But there’s simply not enough data about how unique or pervasive these challenges are, or resources available to women mayors about how to address them. The information from these interviews will be used – without attribution – to create more public information about the experience of women mayors, better understand common challenges and narratives, and begin to create tools and resources to address them.

Please reach out to Katya Spear to sign up for a focus group.

How will we use the data?

We often hear from mayors that many people just don’t understand how uniquely challenging their job can be; this research project aims to create more data around those challenges and resources to address them. It will also inform several Mayors Innovation Project initiatives, including: 

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

New Mayors Cohorts

The New Mayors Cohort to date has supported 50 mayors in their first term, with an  intentional focus on “firsts” in their city – first woman mayor, first mayor of color, first openly LGBTQ+  mayor – to support their successful high road leadership. This data will help us better customize leadership development curriculum for these mayors.

Learn more about the New Mayors Cohorts.

Women Mayors Network

The Women Mayors Network, launched in 2020, offers a unique space for women-identified mayors to network with peers, discuss policy, and raise the profile of women’s leadership. This data will help us better understand the challenges and opportunities unique to women mayors.

Learn more about the Women Mayors Network.

Ongoing Programming

Throughout the year, we connect with mayors via in person and virtual convenings. This data will help inform sessions and support to best serve the network.

Learn more about our past events, and register for our upcoming meeting in Knoxville, TN!

We are a national learning network for mayors committed to shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government.

Learn more here.

Your participation in the survey or any of these engagement options is entirely voluntary; you can decline or withdraw your participation at any time. If you have any questions about the research project, please reach out

We hope you will participate in this important work.