Nine cities represented at program to promote cross-sector collaboration

Ten government, business, and nonprofit leaders from Middle Tennessee have been chosen for a Harvard Business School program convening leaders from nine American cities who are working across sectors to make their communities prosper. The program is locally coordinated by Global Action Platform, an international university-business alliance for scalable, sustainable solutions for abundant food, health, and prosperity.

Those chosen are: Leslee T. Alexander, International Director, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Mario Avila, Founding Director, Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, Vanderbilt University; Agenia Clark, CEO, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee; CMT Vice President of Public Affairs Lucia Folk; Clay Jackson, Director of Sales, nSight Travel Intelligence; John Lowry, Vice President, Development and External Affairs, Lipscomb University; Skanska Vice President Mendy Mazzo; OzArts President Tim Ozgener; Conexion Americas founder/CEO Renata Soto; Lonnell Williams, Director of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, Office of the Mayor.

The program is based in the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School and was created to develop leaders who understand cross-sector collaborations for shared prosperity and who are able to implement them more effectively and spread them more rapidly than in the past.

The program offers opportunities for city teams to apply the ideas to their hometowns – to envision new cross-sector collaborations that can put their cities on a path toward shared prosperity. The Young American Leaders Program (YALP) seeks a team that represents the rich diversity of their communities and works with a sponsoring organization and senior leaders in each city to identify participants who are energetic, creative, positive, and collaborative, with a track record of civic engagement.

Dr. Scott Massey, CEO of Global Action Platform was instrumental in bringing YALP to Nashville. He and Lipscomb University’s Linda Peek Schacht advise the group.

“Global Action Platform is committed to advancing innovation cluster economic strategies for shared prosperity,” notes Dr. Massey. “We are pleased to be the regional affiliate of Michael Porter’s Institute at Harvard and to be working with them on the Young American Leaders Program and other projects. Through this collaboration, we hope to help prepare a rising generation of local leaders who can work together for the shared growth and prosperity of our region in today’s global economy.”

Tennessee is the only state to have two cities in the program, with both Nashville and Chattanooga represented. Other participating cities are Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.

Harvard Faculty for the program which kicked off June 14-June17, include Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a noted expert on leadership and change in complex settings, including at the city level; Karen Gordon Mills, formerly the head of the Small Business Administration and now a senior fellow at HBS; Jan Rivkin, co-chair of HBS’s project on U.S. competitiveness; andMitch Weiss, formerly chief of staff to Boston’s Mayor and now teaching public entrepreneurship at HBS.

This is the second year of the program. Nashville’s 2015 team included Jon Ayers, Ayers Asset Management; Landon Gibbs, Clayton Associates; Caleb Graves, Staffing as a Mission, LLC; Penny Judd, PennAvenue Strategies; Stacey Levine, Collaborative Design Workshop; Shaka Mitchell, Rocketship Education; Laura Moore, Office of Mayor Megan Barry; Gabe Roberts, State of Tennessee, Bureau of TennCare; Melissa Waddey, LifePoint Health; Marcus Whitney, Jumpstart Foundry.

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