Program for New Mayors

Offering leadership training to a select group of recently elected mayors to help them excel in their new role, this program supports US mayors to bring positive change to their communities.

Supporting recently elected mayors as they navigate their first year in office

Newly elected mayors require a unique set of tools to be successful during their transition and first year in office. The Program for New Mayors, developed by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and the US Conference of Mayors, anchors on two key themes: Becoming Mayor and Building the Team and Coalitions.

New mayors gain insights and receive expert advice for overcoming common obstacles and making the most of the transition and first year in office. Attendees also benefit from discussions with current and former mayors who share their expertise. Harvard professors Kimberlyn Leary and Mitchell Weiss serve as Faculty Co-Chairs of the program.

Contact us for information about the Program for New Mayors.

I revised my expectations around time management. Analyzing how much time I’m proactively spending on my priorities, versus reacting to other people’s requests, has helped me focus on my goals. Mayor Ashleigh Aitken
Anaheim, California


Surveyed mayors in 2022 who would recommend this program to other new mayors and were able to forge meaningful connections with participants

I’ve taken a more thoughtful and deliberate approach to how I exercise power in my city, and what types of power I employ in different situations. Mayor Jim Penniman-Morin
Cedar Park, Texas

We're Making an Impact

Planning for the Future, Managing the Unexpected

Fostering a Culture of Teamwork and Engagement

Planning for the Future, Managing the Unexpected

Mayor Phillip Jones talking in a classroom setting

Newport News, VA – Mayor Phillip Jones

Planning for the Future, Managing the Unexpected

After a shooting at a local school four days before his inauguration, Mayor Phillip Jones pivoted his 100-day plan to focus on improving school safety and well-being. He drew on lessons from the Program for New Mayors to build strong relationships within the school district, even without formal oversight. He also managed his time strategically, using an audit tool introduced during the program. It allowed him to compare how he intended to spend time with his actual time allocation.

In addition to leading in crisis, the mayor created two positions, Chief Innovation Officer and a federal lobbyist position, to further his vision of attracting more investments to the city, fostering economic development, prioritizing public safety, and building alliances within and beyond the city council to enact transformative change.

Fostering a Culture of Teamwork and Engagement

Mayor Brett Smiley talks with another mayor

Providence, RI – Mayor Brett Smiley

Fostering a Culture of Teamwork and Engagement

Mayor Brett Smiley ran on a platform of improving city services, which cannot be achieved without a committed workforce. He drew on lessons from the Program for New Mayors to use his first days in office to not only build his team but also make connections with knowledgeable staff from the prior administration. During his first week in office, he put a plan in motion to boost morale among city hall workers. He started by changing all the lightbulbs and cleaning the carpets. He also made sure to visit each office in the building to get to know staff. “At first, it felt like a shock to people, but now it feels a little more normal to pop into the finance office and chat with folks,” Mayor Smiley said.

We heard really positive feedback from staff in week one that city hall is a much more pleasant place to be now. These little gestures can make people feel more valued and appreciated. Mayor Brett Smiley
Providence, RI

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