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Jane Castor to participate in Bloomberg mayoral leadership program

The program will guide mayors through an analysis of public-sector successes and failures.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will travel to New York City next week for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative to participate in an executive training program to help Mayors better plan for their cities. 

The group will include 40 mayors from around the world to participate in a three-day training with the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The program will guide mayors through an analysis of public-sector successes and failures and teach tools to help them build negotiation skills, use data for decision-making and innovation, increase positive public engagement and build a motivated and effective city team. 

The program will continue for one year through continued online education.

Bloomberg Cities, one of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s many philanthropic initiatives, documented stories from some of its leadership initiative alumnus. 

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney used the tools he learned from the program to begin planning universal access to after school programming in his city. Since completing the program, Stoney has made the issue a top-priority. He built on lessons about working collaboratively with both public and private sector partners to build otherwise unattainable programs. 

In another example, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan honed basic interpersonal skills as a leader to improve the city’s struggle with substandard housing. She and other city leaders are working with both renters and landlords to ensure quality housing as well as access to affordable housing by considering the perspectives of both groups. So far, Sheehan’s work has led to a Renter’s Bill of Rights to ensure renters and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities. 

Charlie Clark, Mayor of the Canada city Saskatoon, faced a problem in his city that’s directly relevant in the Tampa Bay region. He was having difficulty gaining broad support for a bus rapid transit route in the city’s downtown. Through lessons from the leadership initiative, Clark worked to bring together community partners through a series of collaborative meetings. Eventually, the city’s plan was approved unanimously by its City Council.

All of the examples are relatable in Tampa. Affordable housing remains an issue, as does after school care and transit. And they are issues for which the city and its new Mayor will work to find solutions.

The Bloomberg leadership program isn’t a silver bullet. But Castor’s participation could provide tools she might not have thought of before. 

Lessons could be particularly helpful for the first-term Mayor’s top five city priorities. Those include transportation, development services, workforce development, affordable housing and sustainability and resiliency.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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