Yearlong Mayors Program

A yearlong, high-impact experience equipping global mayors and senior city officials with management and leadership training for solving real-world problems

Supporting our leaders today while investing in tomorrow

Each year, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative offers leadership and management training to 40 mayors from around the world, and to two senior officials from each mayor’s city who are most crucial to affecting organizational change.

Over the course of a year, the program combines an intensive classroom experience with broader training and capacity-building to help participants foster their professional growth, advance key capabilities within their city hall, and lead more effective, efficient, and equitable cities.

Harvard professors Jorrit de Jong and Rawi Abdelal serve as the program’s Faculty Co-Chairs.

Professor teaches a class of mayors.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson in the classroom.

  Global impact

City leadership involves challenges and responsibilities not found in any other layer of government. The investment and support in city government skills and knowledge that the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative provides is unique and our participation is something that Glasgow’s citizens will continue to benefit from for years to come. Mayor Susan Aitken
Glasgow, Scotland
Mayor Susan Aitken headshot
We were able to expedite our progress, develop a comprehensive plan, and achieve results within just six months through this invaluable opportunity. Collaboration with like-minded individuals helped me make significant progress on my personal growth as a leader. Mayor Justin Bibb
Cleveland, Ohio
Mayor Justin Bibb headshot
Despite our different continents, contexts and conditions, as mayors participating in this program, we shared similar, if not identical, problems, conflicts, and opportunities. I used lessons involving data, building consensus, collaborating with other sectors, and communicating through story to address some of Tirana’s greatest opportunities. Mayor Erion Veliaj
Tirana, Albania

The Core Classes

In-person and virtual sessions, taught by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School faculty, help mayors and their senior leaders step back from day-to-day responsibilities and focus on their personal leadership and organizational practices within their city.

Key topics include strategic leadership and management, collaboration, innovation and experimentation, and using data and evidence to improve decision-making.​

Mayors report that the program helped them to:

  • Build and support high-performing teams

  • Increase leadership and management capacity in their city

  • Communicate with constituents and key partners

  • Use data to increase transparency, make better decisions, and manage performance

  • Effectively innovate by prototyping, implementing quickly, and learning from failure

  • Work across silos and break down barriers to collaboration within city hall and across the city

In addition to core classes, each city has the opportunity to access deeper programming, support, and resources that help them improve a key practice over the course of the year. Senior leaders, working alongside their mayors, play a leading role in this work and are able to draw in additional colleagues to broaden impact, building organizational muscle in one of three key problem-solving practices: collaboration across agencies, jurisdictions, and sectors; use of data and evidence; or innovation.

Yearlong tracks strengthen cities' capabilities in key areas

Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Data and Evidence


Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Collaboration Track

Working across boundaries to address critical social challenges

Mayors are charged with solving many of the most pressing problems that our cities face. Often, these challenges have been festering for decades as rather narrow interventions have failed to make a difference—for good reason. These problems are hard to solve, and they require disparate groups with competing interests and unrelated priorities to work together.

In this track, cities strengthen their ability to harness the talents, resources, and energy of diverse stakeholders working across sectors, jurisdictions, and agencies to solve complex problems.

Data and Evidence

Data and Evidence Track

Using data to solve key problems, improve performance, and optimize public resources

Mayors need to know which data they need and how best to use it to improve outcomes for their residents. Developing data-informed systems and practices can enable cities to more effectively and equitably allocate resources, analyze problems, inform decisions, and manage performance to achieve better results—and ultimately improve city residents’ lives.


Innovation Track

Expanding the city’s ability to think creatively and design and test promising new ideas

Mayors are often asked to design and deliver the points of interaction for residents seeking critical services from local government—whether accessing food stamps, applying for a business license, or navigating city recycling processes. Senior city leaders often need to balance providing immediate services with reimagining and redefining their teams’ work.

Through the innovation track, city teams receive instruction and hands-on coaching to help them develop innovative solutions to improve a specific service interaction between their city and the community. By creating quick wins, cities can demonstrate how innovative ways of working can improve government services.


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