Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Nancy Zimpher
cellor, State University of New York
In June 2009, Nancy L. Zimpher became the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York, the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education. Since that time, she has led the university in creating and launching a systemwide strategic plan, with the central goal of harnessing SUNY’s potential to drive economic revitalization throughout New York. Prior to coming to SUNY, Dr. Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University.

Paul Grogan
President and CEO, The Boston Foundation

Since July 2001, Paul S. Grogan has been the President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. The Foundation distributed over $82 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the Greater Boston community in Fiscal Year 2010 and received gifts of almost $83 million. Mr. Grogan joined the Foundation from Harvard University, where he served as Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs from 1999 to 2001 and as a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School. From 1986 through 1998 he was President and CEO of the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development intermediary. Mr. Grogan helped found and is the Board Chair of CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders. Mr. Grogan is the author, with Tony Proscio, of Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival, published in October 2000 by Westview Press, which Ron Brownstein of the Atlantic Media Company has written is “arguably the most important book about cities in a generation.”

Robert H. Milbourne
President and CEO, RHM Advisors

Robert Milbourne heads RHM Advisors, a business consulting firm, specializing in business strategy, financing, and corporate development for public and private companies. He is also a consultant to business for government affairs, governance and project development. Milbourne was the founding President & CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a civic organization of top business, education and community leaders formed in 2002 to improve the region’s economic future. He came to Columbus after serving as CEO of a similar group in Milwaukee for 17 years. Prior to his work in Milwaukee, he enjoyed a career in government and business. Milbourne worked in Wisconsin state government under Democratic and Republican governors. He served as State Budget Director and was honored as the “Outstanding State Official” in Wisconsin in 1979. Milbourne left government to become Vice President and Economist for the Kohler Company, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of plumbing products, engines and generators.

Marc Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League
In a distinguished professional career that has spanned 25 years, Marc Morial has performed all of these roles with excellence, and is one of the most accomplished servant-leaders in the nation.  As a Professor, Morial served on the adjunct faculty of Xavier University in Louisiana, where he taught Constitutional Law, and Business Law. As a Louisiana State Senator, Morial was named Legislative Rookie of the Year, Education Senator of the Year, and Environmental Senator of the Year, while authoring laws on a wide range of important subjects. As Mayor of New Orleans, Morial was a popular chief executive with a broad multi-racial coalition who led New Orleans’ 1990’s renaissance, and left office with a 70% approval rating. As President of the National Urban League since 2003 he has been the primary catalyst for an era of change -- a transformation for the 100 year old civil rights organization.  His energetic and skilled leadership has expanded the League’s work around an Empowerment agenda, which is redefining civil rights in the 21st century with a renewed emphasis on closing the economic gaps between Whites and Blacks as well as rich and poor Americans.  

Michael Nutter
Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
Recently re-elected to his second term as Mayor of his hometown, Michael A. Nutter has set an aggressive agenda for America’s fifth largest city – devising the City’s innovative school reform strategy, vowing to strengthen community policing through Philly Rising, a unique partnership between vulnerable neighborhoods and the City, and continuing to implement the nationally recognized GreenWorks Philadelphia initiative that is helping to make the City of Philadelphia become the greenest city in America. Since taking office in January 2008, Michael Nutter has vigorously managed city government through the worst recession since the Great Depression by maintaining core services and reducing the City’s spending – most notably closing a $2.4 billion gap in Philadelphia’s five year plan without compromising a single police officer, fire fighter, sanitation, or health center worker.

In June 2012, Mayor Nutter became President of the United States Conference of Mayors, which is the official non-partisan organization of almost 1,300 U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more. As President, Mayor Nutter represents the Conference by promoting the development of effective national urban/ suburban policy; strengthening federal-city relationships; and ensuring that federal policy meets urban needs.

Born in Philadelphia and educated at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael Nutter has been committed to public service since his youth in West Philadelphia. He served almost 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council, earning the reputation of a reformer, before his election as Mayor of Philadelphia. He is happily married to his wife Lisa, and a proud parent to Christian and Olivia.

Brian Payne
President, Central Indiana Community Foundation
For the past ten years, Brian Payne has been the President of Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. During his tenure, he has redefined the business model and put a new emphasis on the Foundation’s ability to transform the City of Indianapolis through three specific community leadership initiatives: Family Success, College Readiness, and Inspiring Places. All three focus on positioning Indianapolis as a top ten city in developing, attracting and retaining human capital. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick is the largest and most visible project of the Inspiring Places Initiative. In February 2010, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a one of a kind eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian trail, was one of 51 grant recipients from a pool of 1,400 proposals to receive a merit based TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This $20.5 million grant means the Cultural Trail is now fully funded and will be completed in 2012. In 2007, Brian was awarded the Michael A. Carroll Civic Leaders Award, Indianapolis’ most prestigious leadership honor for his efforts as founder and producer of the Cultural Trail. Prior to joining the Foundation, Brian ran professional theatre companies.

Cliff Thomas
Managing Director, Cisco

Cliff Thomas is a Managing Director in the Cisco Global Segment responsible for business development and route to market efforts for Cisco’s Smart+ Connected Communities (S+CC) focus on intelligent urbanization. His global team is responsible for developing business strategies creating new routes to market through joint ventures, new revenue share models, public private partnerships and business acceleration for Cisco’s clients, governments, and ecosystems partners. The approach leverages Cisco’s S+CC solutions, which include Education, Physical Safety & Security, Health & Wellness, Transportation, Residential, Retail, Hospitality, Sports & Entertainment, Utilities and Government. Cliff Thomas has 25+ years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including management consulting and a successful venture in a technology services start‐up. With 15 years at Cisco in various sales, business development and global leadership roles he has become an integral member of a team focused on entering and scaling new market opportunities. He is graduate from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and minor in Economics. Additional engineering thesis work on Pneumatic Wave Energy Conversion was completed at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a focus on sustainability.

Wim Wiewel (pronounced Vim VEEV-ell)
President, Portland State University

Wim Wiewel assumed the presidency of Portland State University in August 2008. Under his leadership, the University has developed five guiding themes: Provide civic leadership through partnerships, improve student success, achieve global excellence, enhance educational opportunity, and expand resources and improve effectiveness. This has brought a renewed focus on expanding the university’s civic partnerships in the region and achieving a new degree of excellence through strategic investments.

Prior to coming to PSU, Wiewel was the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore. From 1979-2004, Wiewel was with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he most recently served as dean of the College of Business Administration. Wiewel also directed UIC’s Center for Urban Economic Development. He holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.

Wiewel has authored or edited nine books and more than 65 articles and chapters that have appeared in publications and journals, including Economic Development Quarterly, Economic Geography and the Journal of the American Planning Association. His most recent books are Global Universities and Urban Development, The University as Urban Developer and Suburban Sprawl.

Global Advisory Council

CEOs for Cities Global Advisory Council consists of very distinguished urban leaders and thinkers who make themselves available to CEOs for Cities for strategic guidance and advice on a wide variety of issues critical to city success.

Henry G. Cisneros
Executive Chairman, CityView

Henry Cisneros is Executive Chairman of the CityView companies, which work with the nation’s leading homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families. CityView is a partner in building 40 communities in 12 states, incorporating more than 7,000 homes with a home value of over $2 billion. After serving three terms as a City Councilmember, in 1981, Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas. During his four terms as Mayor, he helped rebuild the city’s economic base and spurred the creation of jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements, marking San Antonio as one of the nation’s most progressive cities. In 1984, Mr. Cisneros was interviewed by the Democratic Presidential nominee as a possible candidate for Vice President of the United States and in 1986 was selected as the “Outstanding Mayor” in the nation by City and State Magazine. In 1992, President Clinton appointed Mr. Cisneros to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After leaving HUD in 1997, Mr. Cisneros was president and chief operating officer of Univision Communications, the Spanish-language broadcaster which has become the fifth-most-watched television network in the nation. Mr. Cisneros currently serves on Univision’s Board of Directors. Mr. Cisneros has also been author, editor or collaborator in several books including: Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation. His book project with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy, was presented the Common Purpose Award for demonstrating the potential of bipartisan cooperation and Casa y Comunidad: Latino Home and Neighborhood Design was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal in the category of best business book of 2006.

Edward Glaeser
Professor, Harvard University; Author, The Triumph of the City
Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He is Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and Director of the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston. He regularly teaches microeconomic theory, and occasionally urban and public economics. He has published dozens of papers on cities, economic growth, and law and economics and is the autor of The Triumph of the City. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Professor, Harvard Business School
Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. She is also Chair and Director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, a collaboration across Harvard's professional schools to help successful leaders at the top of their professions apply their skills to addressing challenging national and global problems in their next stages of life. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. Rosabeth has been repeatedly named to lists of the “50 Most Powerful Women in the World” (Times of London), and the “50 Most Influential Business Thinkers in the World” (Thinkers50). She is the author or co-author of 18 books. Her latest book, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, a manifesto for leadership of sustainable enterprises, was named one of the ten best business books of 2009 by Amazon.com.

Bruce Mau
Co-Founder of Massive Change Network, Bruce Mau Live and Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Bruce Mau Design
World-leading visionary, innovator, designer, and author, Bruce Mau is committed to creative, healthy, ecological and economic abundance. Informed by 25 years of studio experience in design innovation and collaboration with some of the world’s leading artists, institutions and businesses, Bruce Mau has made the simple commitment to connect his life and work to education and human development. Mau is Co-Founder of Massive Change Network. This new initiative is committed to developing purposeful projects in education, health, leadership, and security. Bruce Mau founded the Institute without Boundaries – an innovative, studio-based postgraduate program in collaboration with George Brown College, Toronto. Mau and his students created the groundbreaking exhibition and best-selling book, Massive Change (Phaidon) — a project that declared, “Massive Change is not about the world of design; it’s about the design of the world.” Bruce Mau’s most recent book, The Third Teacher (Abrams) which he and his studio co-authored with OWP/P Architects and VS Furniture, presents a compendium of ways that design can transform teaching and learning for students, families and teachers to thrive in tomorrow’s world. Mau is an author and designer of award-winning books, including LifeStyle (Phaidon), S,M,L,XL (The Monacelli Press) in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, and the iconic and celebrated ZONE BOOKS series. Translated into several languages, Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth has been an inspiration with his aphoristic articulation of his personal philosophy and design strategies for unleashing creativity. Bruce Mau’s design philosophies and practical applications featured in the recently released book GLIMMER: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe the World by Warren Berger (Penguin Press).

Carlo Ratti
Director, MIT SENSEable City Lab
Carlo Ratti is an Italian architect and engineer who also teaches at MIT, where he directs the SENSEable City Lab. Carlo has co-authored over 200 publications and holds several patents. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and MoMA in New York. At the 2008 World Expo, his Digital Water Pavilion was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year”. He has been included in Blueprint Magazine's “25 People Who Will Change the World of Design”, Fast Company’s “50 Most Influential Designers in America”, and has presented at TED (2011).


Mark B. Rosenberg
President, Florida International University
Mark B. Rosenberg is the fifth president of Florida International University. He brings over thirty-five years of experience in higher education leadership to this post. The author of seven books and numerous scholarly articles on Latin America, Dr. Rosenberg was one of the principal architects of FIU's growth and expansion during the past decade and played a lead role in development of FIU’s new Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Most recently, he served as Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, and was instrumental in developing a new financial strategy to support the continuing development and expansion of the State University System. Dr. Rosenberg holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. from Miami University of Ohio, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He is a Fulbright Research Scholar and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Kim Walesh
Office of Economic Development Director and Chief Strategist, City of San Jose

Kim Walesh oversees strategic planning, partnerships, and innovations for the City of San Jose—the Capital of Silicon Valley and nation’s 10th largest city.  Kim joined the City in 2003 to lead development of San Jose’s first comprehensive economic strategy, and oversees implementation. She leads strategic initiatives related to university collaboration, downtown regeneration, business engagement, cultural development, and City identity. Kim assists the City’s elected and executive leadership in understanding and addressing issues that affect the City’s long-term success. Prior to joining the City of San Jose, Kim was co-founder and managing director of Collaborative Economics, a Silicon Valley-based consultancy that works with business and civic leaders who want to build stronger economies and better communities. She is recognized for her expertise in economic competitiveness and civic leadership, and has advised leaders in places as diverse as Chicago, Columbus, Richmond, California’s Central Valley, China, Slovenia, and South Australia.