Six dynamic city leaders will be honored as "City Changemakers" at the 2013 CEOs for Cities National Meeting in Grand Rapids on October 1.
Six dynamic city leaders will be honored as "City Changemakers" at the 2013 CEOs for Cities National Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 1. This year's winners are Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University, Olga Stella of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Jim Walker, founder of Big Car, an arts and culture organization in Indianapolis. Each individual was nominated for the award based on their innovative leadership in making their cities more vibrant, sustainable, and economically competitive.
Mayor Michael Nutter – Michael Nutter has been Mayor of the City of Philadelphia since 2008, managing the recession by maintaining core services and reducing the City's spending. He has just completed his tenure as President of the United States Conference of Mayors, representing the conference by promoting the development of effective urban policy, strengthening federal-city relationships, and ensuring that federal policy meets urban needs. Mayor Nutter will also deliver the final keynote address on October 1st. Mayor Nutter stated, "Serving as Mayor of Philadelphia and as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has allowed me to take important steps both locally and nationally in providing pathways for our cities to become safer, greener and more prosperous. I am honored to be named as a ‘Changemaker' by CEOs for Cities."
Mayor Tom Barrett – Tom Barrett has been Mayor of the City of Milwaukee since 2004, and has worked to promote employment, reduce crime, and strengthen neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosure. Like CEOs for Cities, he believes that cities are "on the front lines in solving problems." His "Refresh Milwaukee Initiative" embraces long-term sustainability in a variety of areas, from food and energy to mobility and water, continuing efforts that have been underway since the start of his administration. "The administrative responsibilities of serving as Mayor are huge" he says, "and it is easy to allow that portion of the job to dominate one's time and attention," but he adds, "The most enjoyable part of the job is guiding Milwaukee in a way that benefits the people who live here."
Mayor A.C. Wharton – Mayor Wharton is leading the transformation of Memphis by focusing on four strategic priorities: creating safe and vibrant neighborhoods, growing prosperity and opportunity for all, investing in young people, and advancing a culture of excellence in government. Mayor Wharton will be honored for achievements like the Office of Talent and Human Capital, which helps attract and retain top talent to Memphis – the only one of its kind in city government. He is a strong advocate for creating new green space and connecting communities across the region. Mayor Wharton said, "I am constantly looking for ways to make my city more competitive economically, safer and more livable for families, and interesting and fun for the many visitors who come every year from around the world to experience Memphis music, food and culture."
Mark Rosenberg – Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg is the fifth President of Florida International University, and formerly served as Chancellor of the State University System of Florida. He is a Fulbright Research Scholar and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Dr. Rosenberg is a passionate educator and urban problem-solver. He is being honored for his commitment to utilizing the resources of the University as an anchor in the community, helping Greater Miami to meet its ecological, cultural, social, and urban challenges. Dr. Rosenberg acknowledges this award as belonging to the entire FIU community, stating, "This award is a testament to the work, determination, and spirit of our faculty, staff, students, and community that has allowed us to become a leading public research institution."
Olga Stella – Olga Stella is Vice President for Business Development at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, having worked for years in economic development and public policy, and as chief of staff to Michigan Representative Steve Tobocman as he represented Southwest Detroit. Stella is a tireless advocate for the organization's projects, which employ Detroiters, bring new life to once vacant buildings, and help reframe the conversation about beleaguered city. "Detroit's biggest challenge is not that it is physically too big," she says, "but that its economy is too small. I'm excited by the opportunity to be innovative in addressing this challenge and exploring new and different partnerships and approaches. I am just one of many talented leaders working together to make Detroit a better place for everyone."
Jim Walker – Jim Walker is a Founder and Executive Director of Big Car Collaborative, a nonprofit community creativity organization based in Indianapolis, organizer of TEDxIndianapolis, and producer of the annual Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project. He works to bring "engaging and surprising cultural experiences" into the communities of Indianapolis, like Big Car's Service Center for Culture and Community, a formerly vacant Firestone automotive shop repurposed as an art space with a garden on the front parking lot. Walker has worked in many fields, but is being honored for his work connecting creativity and placemaking in Indiana communities. "As a social and cultural entrepreneur, I work hard to share the joy and benefits of creativity and great design with as many people as I can. I also use my skills as an observer, thinker, innovator and communicator to collaborate with others in developing creative solutions to problems we face today."
The theme of the 2013 National Meeting is "The Art of the Collaborative City," and will explore the role of the private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors at the intersection of art, design, talent, and place. Over 250 leaders from more than 70 cities are expected to attend. The National Meeting will be held during ArtPrize, the internationally acclaimed art competition that Time
Magazine recently listed in its "Five Festive Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2013." The meeting is open to the public; interested parties can register at www.ceosforcities.org/register