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New Mayors Cohort 2020

January 28, 2020

Training 1: March 19 - 20, Dallas, TX
Training 2: August 19 - 20, Tacoma, WA
Transitioning from running a campaign to leading a city is a huge challenge.
While some skills are transferable, newly elected mayors must immediately tackle challenges unique to the role of mayor. In particular for women and people of color, challenging the status quo and creating institutional change once in an executive role of power is easier said than done. Governing as mayor, with a focus on equity, sustainability, and democracy, requires a new set of skills.
This is why we are excited to launch our inaugural New Mayors Cohort. This opportunity is for newly-elected mayors (in the first two years of their first term) and offers two in-person trainings: March 19 - 20 in Dallas, TX, and August 19 - 20 in Tacoma, WA, with additional support and resources in between.


On the Agenda

The Cohort will be grounded in our focus on inclusion across race, gender, and economic status and is open to mayors of cities of all sizes. The primary goals are to help newly-elected mayors build capacity needed to enact their agendas while avoiding potential missteps and to develop a supportive network other mayors within the cohort. Session examples include:
  • Envisioning Success: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See
  • If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Words of Wisdom from Current and Former Mayors  
  • Communicating Your Priorities: Developing Your Elevator Pitch
  • Staying on Track: Avoiding Pitfalls that Derail Your Agenda


Mayor’s Commitment

To ensure the quality of the cohort programming, we ask that participating mayors commit as best as possible to the following:
  • Attendance at two in-person workshops: Thursday, March 19 - Friday, March 20 in Dallas, TX; and Wednesday, August 19 - Thursday, August 20 in Tacoma, WA (adjacent to the Mayors Innovation Project Summer 2020 Annual Meeting, held August 20-22, which we hope mayors stay for!). We know that mayors are busy and city emergencies may come up, however we ask you to make an honest commitment to attend both.
  • Attendance at 1-2 video conferences: Scheduled from May to July, with the facilitator and cohort members. These will focus on peer learning and implementing strategies learned from the workshop.


What We Offer

The Mayors Innovation Project commits to providing quality programming from professional facilitators, access to a small peer network of recently-elected mayors, and a year membership in our broader, national network of progressive mayors. Travel & hotel support is available if needed for your participation at in-person events.


Next Steps

This event is by invitation only for newly-elected mayors in the first two years of a 3+ year term who have a firm commitment to the high road principles of equity, sustainability, and democracy. To learn more, or see if you qualify, please contact Matthew Braunginn, braunginn@mayorsinnovation.org.



From our Summer 2019 New Mayors Workshop participants

“The workshop provides a safe and supportive space to allow mayors to genuinely express their thoughts and feelings around the challenges of governing.”
- Mayor Chastity Wells-Armstrong, Kankakee, IL
“This is a valuable experience early in a mayoral term for multiple reasons- the tools presented are foundational and will help you get started and the opportunity to talk with other new mayors is invaluable.”

- Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Madison, WI


Cohort Facilitator

Martha Pellegrino is the Founder and Chief Bravissima Officer of Brava Point LLC, a company dedicated to helping clients achieve strategic outcomes through upstream engagement and connections across difference.  She is an experienced facilitator and city leader, who spent well over a decade advocating for transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, public safety resources, climate smart communities, and centering equity in government.  Prior to starting her own company, Martha served as the Director of Government Relations for the City of Portland, where she oversaw state, federal and international affairs.  She holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, U.K., and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.  When she isn’t enthusiastically watching women’s soccer or geeking out on urban planning with her wife, Alisa, she serves on the Honorary Council of the Center for Women’s Leadership and on the Advisory Board for Partners in Diversity in Portland, Oregon.