Keep your eyes peeled for all the latest news from our speakers, then pay them back for their efforts by following them on their social media channels or dropping in on their website or blog.  2015 updates coming soon!

Phil Boas Editor, The Arizona Republic

Phil Boas is editor of the editorial pages of The Arizona Republic. As director of the newspaper’s Community Leadership department, he oversees the editorial board and manages the institutional voice of the newspaper. Before that, he was editor of The Republic’s Sunday Viewpoints section and editor of its Community editorial pages. Earlier in his career he was metro editor at The East Valley Tribune and a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is married with four children. He and his family live in Gilbert, Arizona.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome City of Baton Rouge

Sharon Weston Broome was sworn in as the mayor-president of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish on Jan. 2, 2017. She is the first woman to be elected as the leader of the capital city of Louisiana. Since the campaign trail, her focus has been to unite the citizenry around the common goals of equality in education, economic development, justice, housing and other quality ways of life.

Immediately following her election, Mayor-President Broome convened a team of 300 diverse residents to be part of her transition team. Residents ranged from millennials to seniors, who represented various races, education levels and socioeconomic statuses. Among the issues covered were flood recovery, community-police relations, education, economic development, race relations and transportation. Using this feedback directly from the community, Broome’s administration immediately took action, accomplishing much within the first 100 days in office.

Among these actions were: updating the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Use of Force Policy to align with national best practices; continuing to maximize FEMA Public Assistance funds for reimbursement from repairs and restructuring related to the historic flood of August 2016; launched the Equity in Business initiative, which aims to increase contract opportunities and entrepreneurial activity in all neighborhoods; entered into an agreement with the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce that now includes a focus on small businesses, and those owned by minorities and women; held first joint meeting with East Baton Rouge Parish School Board members and Metro Council; and launched an implementation plan for a “Cradle to K” initiative.

The administration continues to focus on these issues and others that affect the community, and continuously act on feedback from community members.

Prior to her current post, Broome served as a Metro Council member and mayor pro tempore; Louisiana State Representative (District 29); and Louisiana State Senator (District 15). While in the legislature, she became the first woman to hold the leadership position of pro tempore in the House and Senate.

Over the years, Broome has been recognized for her service and leadership by several organizations, including the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Louisiana Health Freedom Coalition, American Heart Association, Every Child Matters and Morehouse College.

With a B.A. in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse and an M.A. in communications from Regent University, Broome has served as an adjunct instructor at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Community College and Southern University. In addition, she was a reporter for five years for WBRZ-TV, the Baton Rouge ABC affiliate.

Faith and family are priorities for Broome. She is a member of Star Hill Church, and is happily married to Marvin Broome. They are the proud parents of three children and three grandchildren.

Jeff Carter Executive Director, Mayor of Mobile Innovation Team

Jeff Carter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team, is a lifelong resident of Mobile and proud alumni of The University of South Alabama. Mobile’s Innovation team focuses on helping City government look at old problems in new ways. The I-team works by conducting deep qualitative and quantitative research to understand root causes of local challenges, design and implement responsive solutions, and relentlessly measure progress against clear goals to improve citizens live.

Prior to joining the i-team, Jeff has uniquely focused his career on data driven policies and procedures that successfully increased efficiency, flexibility and financial stability in his professional and volunteer organizations.  Jeff is a founding member and serves on the board of Fuse Project, a nonprofit dedicated to provide the spark for innovation, funding and implementation of projects benefiting children along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Additionally, he serves on the Mobile United steering committee as well as the University of South Alabama Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation advisory board.

Christopher Callahan Dean, University Vice Provost and Arizona PBS CEO

Christopher Callahan is the founding dean of the Cronkite School. He is responsible for leading a 150-member faculty and staff and 1,700 students. He also serves as vice provost of the 11,000-student Downtown Phoenix campus. Callahan is the chair of the Hearst Awards Steering Committee and serves as the chair of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. He also is a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. Prior to joining ASU, Callahan was associate dean at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and senior editor of the American Journalism Review. Before entering journalism education, Callahan was a Washington correspondent for The Associated Press. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the author of “A Journalist’s Guide to the Internet.”


Lattie F. Coor President-Emeritus + Professor of Public Affairs, ASU

Lattie F. Coor, President-Emeritus and Professor of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, is Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona. For 26 years, he served as a University President, most recently at Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002, and as President of the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989. He has held positions with a variety of higher education associations, boards and commissions.

Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council.

An Arizona native, Coor was born in Phoenix and graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964.

He has honorary degrees from Marlboro College, American College of Greece, the University of Vermont and Northern Arizona University.

Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, LEED A.P. Visiting Eminent Scholar, Del E. Webb School of Construction, ASU

Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, LEED A.P. is a Visiting Eminent Scholar at the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. She is a member of the Saddle Lake First Nation and was the first, First Nation women to become an architect in Canada. She has spent nearly 20 years working with Indigenous communities in North America. Her current work focuses on re-operationalizing Indigenous worldviews in contemporary architecture and planning environments, co-design methodologies, community engagement practices, Indigenous placekeeping and climatic resiliency in architecture. She, along with a team of Indigenous architects across North America, have been selected to design the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2018. She holds a Master of Design Research (City Design, Planning and Policy) from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and a Master of Architecture from the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. Her firm, Redquill Architecture (www.RQarc.com) is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Deborah Diamond, Ph.D.  President, Campus Philly

Deborah has led Campus Philly since 2010. During her tenure, Campus Philly has grown from 15 to 34 regional college and university partners, has seen increased investment by the City of Philadelphia in the program, and has created a corporate membership program that now includes more than 35 regional employers. Research by Campus Philly shows that 64% of recent college graduates stay in Philadelphia after graduating and the city has seen the highest growth of its millennial population of any large city in the country.  Deborah began her career as a college professor, teaching political philosophy at Columbia University and Bryn Mawr College. She left academics to build a career in market research first at The Melior Group, a boutique market research firm in Philadelphia, then as the first director of research and strategy at Visit Philadelphia, the region’s tourism marketing agency. Deborah holds a BA in political science from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. Deborah serves on the board of overseers of the Jewish Grad Network of Greater Philadelphia, the marketing committee of the National Museum of American Jewish History, and as class parent for the 2018 class of Science Leadership Academy.

Leonard Downie Jr former Executive Editor + VP, The Washington Post; Weil Family Professor of Journalism, Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Leonard Downie Jr. is the former executive editor and vice president of The Washington Post, where he was executive editor from 1991-2008. During his 44 years at the Post, Downie was an investigative reporter, editor on the local and national news staffs, London correspondent and managing editor and helped supervise the newspaper’s Watergate coverage. During his 17 years as executive editor, the newspaper won 25 Pulitzer Prizes. Downie is a founder and former board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., an advisory board member of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News. He is the author of five nonfiction books and a novel.

Lee Fisher CEOs for Cities

Lee Fisher is the Senior Advisor to CEOs for Cities. Lee is also Interim Dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He will return as President + CEO of CEOs for Cities at the end of his term as interim Dean. Lee is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs and an Urban Scholar with the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lee has served as Ohio Lt. Governor ; Director, Ohio Department of Development; Chair, Ohio Third Frontier Commission; Chair, Ohio Economic Growth Council; Member, Ohio Venture Capital Authority; Chair, Clean Ohio Council; Ohio Attorney General; State Senator ; State Representative; President/ CEO, Center for Families and Children; and Partner, law firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks.

During the time Lee led Ohio’s economic development efforts as Lt. Governor, Site Selection magazine awarded its highest economic development award, the Governor’s Cup, to Ohio three consecutive years and with the Competitiveness Award, recognizing the Ohio Department of Development, under Lee’s leadership, as the most effective economic development agency in the country. Lee also led the development of Ohio’s first strategic plan for economic development

Richard Florida Author, The New Urban Crisis; University Professor & Director of Cities, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto

Author, thought-leader and researcher 

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists.

He is a researcher and professor, serving as University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and a Visiting Fellow at Florida International University.

He is a writer and journalist, having penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis published in April 2017. He serves as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab.

He is an entrepreneur, as founder of the Creative Class Group which works closely with companies and governments worldwide.

A 2013 MIT study named him the world’s most influential thought leader. And TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world.

He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State University, and George Mason University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Christopher Gergen Founding Partner, Forward Cities

Christopher Gergen is a founding partner of HQ Community, the largest entrepreneurial co-working community in North Carolina including HQ Raleigh, HQ Greensboro, HQ Charlotte, Think House and Duke TeachHouse.  Christopher is also the founder of Forward Communities, a non-profit that has launched community-based efforts to develop and scale high-impact social entrepreneurs including Bull City Forward in Durham, NC, Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC, and Moore Forward in Moore County, NC.  Additionally, Christopher co-founded Forward Cities – a national learning collaborative between cities focused on building more inclusive innovation economies and helped launch InnovateNC – a similar multi-city learning collaborative in North Carolina. Christopher is a fellow and faculty member with Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiative, co-author of the nationally acclaimed book Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives, an alum of Leadership North Carolina (class 24) and a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.   He lives with his wife and two children in Durham, NC.

Lev Gonick, Ph.D Chief Information Officer, Arizona State University

Lev Gonick is an educator, technologist, and smart city architect. He has been teaching, working, and living on the Net for more than 25 years.

On November 1, Lev became the Chief Information Officer at Arizona State University. He will lead the ASU University Technology Office that provides technology services to all students, faculty, and staff.  He is also cofounder of DigitalC, previously OneCommunity, the award-winning non-profit organization enabling and celebrating innovation, collaboration, and productivity through next-generation broadband networks, big open data solutions, and IoT for public benefit.

Lev was CIO at Case Western Reserve University from 2001-2013. He and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next-generation network projects, and organizational development. Lev’s innovations, including the Case Connection Zone, catalyzed national projects such as US Ignite and Gig.U.

Inside Business Magazine named Lev one of their Power 100 in 2015. In 2011, Government Technology awarded Lev one of their “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation.”​ In the same year, Crain’s Business Cleveland named Gonick one its “10 Difference Makers”​ in Northeast Ohio, and Broadband Properties honored him with their Cornerstone Award for “using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals.”​ In 2010, he received recognition as “Visionary of the Year” from NATOA. Lev has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and honored by CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

A frequent invited speaker and consultant on Smart Cities, Lev currently serves on the Boards of Monarch Teaching Technologies (software for special needs children), DecisionDesk, Groundworks Dance Theater, Jewish Family Services, and Cleveland Independents (Restaurants).

Specialties: Smart City Solutions, Smart City Architecture, The Future of Education, Broadband, Social Networking and Network Economy, Fiber to the Home, Innovation and Technology, Smart and Connected Communities, Internet of Things, Programmable City, City as an Operating System, Political Economy and Information Technology.

Grady Gammage, Jr. Author, “The Future of the Suburban City”

Grady is one of the founders of Gammage and Burnham and has had a varied and diverse 40 year career in law and public policy in Arizona.

His practice has focused on the political aspects of real estate, development and public policy.  As a zoning lawyer, he has represented dozens of major commercial projects including high rise offices, major industrial and office parks, retail shopping centers of all sizes, and tens of thousands of acres of residential projects, including some of Arizona’s most iconic master planned communities. In the early 1980s, he was the primary private sector representative in working on the innovative Urban Lands Act, which made state trust land available for commercial and residential development. As a result, he had represented more transactions with the State Land Department than any other lawyer in Arizona. He has also been at the forefront of urban development in Maricopa County, including deals with such public private projects as the Tempe Town Lake and Arizona’s unique approach to redevelopment incentives. He has also represented cities and towns in revising their development and land use ordinances, and has litigated land use and election issues related to development.

Grady served on the Central Arizona Project Board of Directors for 12 years, and was president during a period of turbulence when the CAP was suing the Federal Government over the multibillion dollar cost of the canal. The litigation was resolved successfully resolved through a dramatic restructuring of the federal/state relationship. This led to Grady becoming one of the best respected water experts in the state.

He teaches land use regulation in both the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. In addition, Grady has long served as a Senior Fellow at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Kyl Center for Water Policy where he works on projects related to urban growth, economic development and quality of life.

At the turn of the century, he built an intense, transit oriented mixed use development in the City of Tempe which won three architectural awards.

For more than 25 years, Grady has been one of the most sought after speakers in Arizona, delivering dozens of presentations on an annual basis throughout the state. Topics include, urban growth, regulation, local politics, environmental and sustainability, transportation, tax policy and demographic changes.

He has been the author of numerous reports issued by the Morrison Institute, including “Watering the Sun Corridor: Managing Choices in Arizona’s Megapolitan Area:” and “Treasure of the Superstitions: Scenarios for the Future of Superstition Vistas”

He is the author of two books on the Phoenix Metropolitan area which have been critically acclaimed and widely quoted. The most recent The Future of the Suburban City: Lessons from Sustaining Phoenix” was published by Island Press in 2016 and is available on Amazon.

Mr. Gammage has been a frequent guest on NPR, the PBS “Horizon” show on Arizona politics and policy, and has been extensively quoted in The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Urban Land, Newsweek and many other news media.

Paul S. Grogan President + CEO, The Boston Foundation


Paul S. Grogan became the President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, on July 1, 2001.  Today, the Foundation has assets of over $1 billion, and distributed $135 million to nonprofit organizations in fiscal year 2017.  Since coming to the Foundation, Mr. Grogan has boosted fundraising and launched high-impact initiatives in education, youth violence prevention, community development, health care and the arts, among others.  Under Mr. Grogan’s leadership the Foundation has become a highly influential civic convener on issues and challenges facing the City of Boston and the region.

Mr. Grogan joined the Boston Foundation from Harvard University, where he served as Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs and as a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School.  Mr. Grogan spearheaded unprecedented University commitments to the community, including $21 million for affordable housing and $5 million for the Harvard After-School Initiative.  He successfully transformed the University’s previously poor relationship with the City of Boston, which paved the way for Harvard to double its property holdings in the Allston neighborhood.  While at Harvard, Mr. Grogan founded “CEOs for Cities” a civic innovation lab and network of urban leaders and change agents from diverse sectors.  CEOs for Cities holds semi-annual conferences and publishes cutting edge research on the nature of successful urban economies.

From 1986 through 1998, he was President and CEO of the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development intermediary.  During his term as President, LISC raised and invested more than $3 billion of private capital in inner-city revitalization efforts across America. LISC also made vital contributions to a string of national policy successes, including the creation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the establishment of the HOME program, the strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act and the creation of the New Markets Tax Credit.  Noted author and Dean Emeritus of the Columbia School of Journalism, Nicholas Lemann, has written that “Paul Grogan is one of the heroes of the community development movement.”

Mr. Grogan’s passion for cities began in Boston where he served Mayors Kevin H. White and Raymond L. Flynn in a variety of staff and line positions.  He headed Boston’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in the early 1980s, where he helped pioneer a series of public/private ventures that have been widely emulated by other cities.  These included the Boston Housing Partnership and the Boston Compact, a partnership between the city’s corporate community and public school system.

Mr. Grogan graduated with honors in American History from Williams College in 1972 and holds a Master’s degree in Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  In 1997, Williams College awarded Mr. Grogan a Bicentennial Medal for his leadership in inner-city revitalization efforts.  He holds honorary degrees from The Boston Architectural College, The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, The Urban College of Boston and Mount Ida College.  Mr. Grogan is a founder and director of The Community Development Trust; a director of New Profit Inc., and a former trustee of Williams College, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

In 2000, Mr. Grogan and Tony Proscio, co-authored the book, Comeback Cities, which syndicated columnist Ron Brownstein wrote is “arguably the most important and insightful book on the American city in a generation.”

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Ph.D. Chancellor, Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD)

Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick is Chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), one of the largest community college systems in the nation. She oversees operations for the system, which serves 200,000 students and nearly 10,000 faculty and staff members across 10 colleges in the metropolitan Phoenix area, including a corporate college, and two skills centers.

Under Dr. Harper-Marinick’s leadership, MCCCD has helped a diverse student body pursue university degrees thanks to the Reverse Transfer Initiative. In 2015-2016, more than 30,000 undergraduates enrolled at one of Arizona’s three public universities with 12 or more credits from MCCCD. The college system is also the largest workforce trainer in Arizona. In 2016, MCCCD conferred occupational awards to more than 10,000 students in a variety of industries, including health care, business, aircraft and automotive, public safety, computer and information sciences, and construction.

Dr. Marinick was also pivotal in developing the Maricopa Millions Open Educational Resources project (OER), which has saved students more than $10 million dollars—almost double the estimated projections when the program was first conceived in 2012. She has promoted MCCD signature partnerships and programs benefitting students and the community, the workforce, and the environment, including the Automotive Centers of Excellence, the Sun Corridor-Get Into Energy Consortium (ASC-GIEC), and the Arizona Advanced Technologies Corridor.

Dr. Harper-Marinick is the recipient of various awards and recognition, including 2018 Most Admired Leaders by Phoenix Business Journal, 2017 Woman of the Year Award from Valley Leadership, and 2015 Woman of the Year award from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She was featured in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as one of 25 women who have made a difference in the world by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges and exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills.

Judi Johnson Director of Economic Development, City of Noblesville, Indiana

As Director of Economic Development for the City of Noblesville, Indiana, Judi Johnson is responsible for all aspects of Economic Development Leadership including, Business Attraction, Retention and Expansion, Workforce Development, Cultural Emergence, Downtown Revitalization, Community Development and Marketing. Judi is the convener of the NoblesvilleWORKS Workforce Development Council as well as a collaborator on the “Hipstoric” Noblesville Arts Council. In 2016, the Indiana Arts Commission named the city of Noblesville to the Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts Program. Noblesville is only the 7th city to receive this designation in the state. Judi is a graduate of Purdue University and Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute.

Paul Luna President + CEO, Helios Education Foundation

Paul is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Helios Education Foundation, cultivating strong community relationships and initiating strategic partnerships in Arizona and Florida. He brings more than 25 years of public and private professional experience to his leadership role with the Foundation. Prior to his role at Helios, Paul served as President of Valley of the Sun United Way, where he led a community-wide fundraising effort approaching $50 million.

A native of Miami, Arizona, Paul graduated from Miami High School and as a first-generation college student, attended Stanford University, where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering. In addition to his role at Helios, Paul currently serves as a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, The Aspen Institute’s Youth and Engagement Advisory Circle, the National College Access Network Board of Directors, the America’s Promise Alliance Board of Directors, the Florida College Access Network Steering Committee, the Center for the Future of Arizona Board of Directors, and the Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors, and he was Founding Chair of the Expect More Arizona Board of Directors

Kimber Lanning Founder + Executive Director, Local First Arizona

Kimber Lanning is Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, a statewide organization implementing innovative strategies for new models of economic development that create vibrant local economies. Lanning is an entrepreneur, business leader and community development specialist who works to cultivate strong self-reliant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. Lanning’s passions, which are seen throughout her work, include fostering cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth for Arizona’s urban areas.

Lanning has grown Local First Arizona into a widely respected organization that is leading the nation in implementing systems and policies to ensure a level playing field for entrepreneurial endeavors of all sizes. With nearly 3,000 business members and four statewide offices, Lanning leads a team of 17 who work on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies.

Lanning is consistently recognized and has received numerous awards for her diverse work and extensive leadership. In 2014, Lanning was recognized as the Citizen Leader of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, a pivotal moment in recognizing the use of Localist policies as a force for economic development. Her work in promoting adaptive reuse in Phoenix’s urban core was recognized by the American Planning Association, who presented Lanning with the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award in 2013. Lanning has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona” (Arizona Business Magazine, 2011), was the recipient of the Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 2013, and was the 2014 Leader of the Year in Public Policy (Arizona Capitol Times).

Bob Milbourne Chair, CEOs for Cities Board

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 and 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, Milbourne enjoyed a career in government and business. He 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.

Workshop Opening

Tom Murphy Senior Fellow, ULI, former Mayor of Pittsburgh

Tom Murphy, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, has been a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute since 2006.

A former mayor of Pittsburgh, his extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—has been a key addition to the senior resident fellows’ areas of expertise. Murphy also serves on the Advisory Board of ULI’s Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use.

In 2011 he wrote Building on Innovation, a ULI report discussing the economic impact universities and hospitals have on local economies and providing detailed strategies to shape a successful 21st-century city based on a private/public/university partnership.

Since joining ULI, Murphy has served on many Advisory Services panels, including panels in Moscow and Hong Kong, as well as Baltimore, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. Additionally, Murphy served as ULI’s Gulf Coast liaison, helping coordinate with the leadership of New Orleans and the public the rebuilding recommendations made by a ULI Advisory Services panel held shortly after Hurricane Katrina. He also worked on rebuilding strategies with leaders in the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama in the wake of Katrina.

Murphy has represented ULI in a number of cities, from Baton Rouge to Baltimore, helping them shape a revitalization strategy. He is a frequent speaker at ULI gatherings and other events.

Before joining ULI, Murphy served three terms as mayor of Pittsburgh, from January 1994 through December 2005. During that time, he initiated a public/private partnership strategy that leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development in the city. Murphy led efforts to secure and oversee $1 billion in funding for the development of two professional sports facilities, and a new convention center that is the largest certified green building in the United States. He developed strategic partnerships to transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail, and public uses, and he oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and parks.

From 1979 through 1993, Murphy served eight terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He focused his legislative activities on changing western Pennsylvania’s economy from industrial to entrepreneurial, and wrote legislation requiring state pension funds to invest in venture capital firms. In addition, he wrote legislation to create the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, now over 25 years old, which is dedicated to advancing Pennsylvania’s focus on early-stage startup businesses and the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies.

Murphy served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay from 1970 to 1972. He is a 1993 graduate of the New Mayors Program offered by Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He holds a Master of Science degree in urban studies from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from John Carroll University.

He is an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects; a board member of Harmony Development Inc. of New Orleans; president of the board of the Wild Waterways Conservancy of Pennsylvania; and a board member of Mountain Lake Inc. of Virginia.

Marcia Kadanoff Co-Founder & CEO, Maker City Project, Inc.

Marcia Kadanoff is a change agent and innovation advisor to nonprofit and for-profit companies. She has served as a Chief Marketing Officer and CEO to many early-stage companies, with a focus on metrics, measurement, and data analytics. Two of the agencies she co-founded and built were recognized as best-in-class and sold for large multiples. Her work as a direct and internet marketer has been recognized with feature and/or cover stories in AdWeek, AdAge, DM News, Business Marketing magazine, New York Times, and the San Jose Mercury News. An early pioneer in relationship marketing, ROI marketing, mobile marketing, and the use of content marketing to drive the consumer’s journey. She has advised the C-suite on strategy and implementation at: 3Com, AOL, Content Rules, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Oracle, Presence Learning, Charles Schwab, and Wells Fargo.

Previously, Marcia worked as a marketing executive at Apple Computer, as a VP of Marketing at Sun Microsystems, and co-founded the largest independent direct and interactive agency on the West Coast, which was sold to Draft and became the basis of Draft FCB. She built and sold a marketing analytic consultancy as well as the fastest growing content-marketing agency.

Marcia is a previous member of the Committee of 200, a network of the top business leaders in the U.S. and a current member of Watermark which seeks to increase the representation of women on boards and ask entrepreneurs and executives.

Today, she serves on the board of directors of SFCamerawork – the oldest non-profit photography gallery in San Francisco.

Marcia has a strong interest in equitable development inside our cities, having served on the board of Rebuilding Together SF and having worked as a communications advisor to the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. Kadanoff has a B.A. from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.

Christine MacKay Director of Economic Development, City of Phoenix

Christine Mackay is the Community and Economic Development Director with the City of Phoenix.  She is responsible for leading the Business Development Team, including the areas of business attraction, business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurial efforts, downtown development, international, retail and workforce development.

During the past six years, she has helped locate or expand more than 180 companies into the Region, brought more than 26,000 jobs, added nearly 5 million square feet to the industrial/office base and brought more than $7 billion in capital investment in to the community.

In 2016, Christine was named the Economic Developer of the Year, by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) and received the Landmark Leaders Government Liaison Award from the Phoenix Business Journal.

Eric Newton former/founding Managing Editor, Newseum; former VP, John S. and James L Knight Foundation; Innovation Chief + Professor of Practice, Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, ASU

Leonard Downie Jr. is the former executive editor and vice president of The Washington Post, where he was executive editor from 1991-2008. During his 44 years at the Post, Downie was an investigative reporter, editor on the local and national news staffs, London correspondent and managing editor and helped supervise the newspaper’s Watergate coverage. During his 17 years as executive editor, the newspaper won 25 Pulitzer Prizes. Downie is a founder and former board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., an advisory board member of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News. He is the author of five nonfiction books and a novel.

Brian Payne President, The Central Indiana Community Foundation + Indianapolis Foundation

For the past ten years, Brian Payne has been the President of The 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. 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.

Steven Pedigo NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab

Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic development, marketing and place-branding. He has advised cities, universities, real estate developers, nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies and major media outlets across the globe. His urban development clients represent communities of all sizes: New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Austin, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Sao Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico City and many others. His corporate clients include: BMW, Converse, Starwood, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, EDENS, Kraft and others.

Presently, he is the director of the Urban Lab at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate and a clinical professor of economic development at the NYU School of Professional Studies. He is also the director of the research for the Creative Class Group and serves as an advisor for Resonance Consultancy (Vancouver/ New York) and Leland Consulting (Portland).


Phil Regier University Dean, Educational Initiatives; CEO, EdPlus, ASU

Phil Regier, PhD, is university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University. Regier is responsible for expanding the university’s digital immersion programs and extending online learning and teaching globally. Under his direction, ASU Online has grown from 400 to nearly 22,000 students and from six to more than 100 degree programs. Dean Regier previously served as executive dean at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. He is also an accounting faculty member and has published research on postretirement benefits, corporate restructuring and market-based accounting. Dean Regier earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and mathematics from St. John’s College and his PhD in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, FAIA Senior Advisor to the President, Arizona State University; Executive Director, ASU’s University City Exchange

Reiter has played numerous roles: community leader, academic administrator, faculty member, architect, urban designer, and public artist. He has established a track record of highly effective partnerships with public office holders, the business community, non-profit groups, professional organizations, developers, and universities.  Central to his work has been the construction of mutually-beneficial relationships between the institutions he has led and the cities in which they are located. Reiter is particularly interested in the economics, culture, and sustainability elements of metro areas and the engagement of top tier colleges and universities embedded within them.

Reiter was a key player in the creation of the award-winning ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus. He is the past President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the former Dean of the College of Design at ASU, and a long-time faculty member at MIT.  He is the recipient of the Arizona Architect’s medal and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.  He is presently a national Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and chair of ULI’s University Development and Innovation Council.

Denise D. Resnik Founder + President/CEO, First Place® AZ


An international autism leader, Denise is the Founder and President/CEO of First Place® AZ (established in 2012), Co-Founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) (established in 1997), and Founder and CEO of DRA Collective, and marketing/communications firm (established in 1986) that serves clients in a variety of fields including real estate, economic development, health care, education and hospitality.

Denise has raised community awareness and more than $60 million for the cause, primarily from in-state sources. The supportive community, facilitated by SARRC and First Place AZ along with dozens of partnering organizations, resulted in PBS NewsHour producing two nationally broadcasted features citing Phoenix as “the most autism friendly city in the world.”

Other leadership includes having served as a member of the Arizona Community Foundation board of directors and its Affordable Housing Committee, member of the Autism Speaks Family and Housing Committees, Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) Leadership Council, National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism (NARPAA) and the National Autism Transition Research Network Advisory Panel. Denise also served as a federally appointed member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) of the National Institutes of Health.

DRA Collective leads strategic planning, branding, marketing and story-telling for its local and national clients. Represented by a carefully curated team of journalists, marketers, researchers, artists and thinkers, DRA has donated significant resources to building the SARRC and First Place plans, strategies and brands.

Denise graduated from Arizona State University cum laude and received her bachelor’s degree in business. Her greatest accomplishment is her family—her husband Rob of 33 years, and adult children Matt, Ally and Whitney.


Beatriz Elisabeth Rendón VP of Educational Outreach, ASU; Chief Executive Officer, ASU Prep

Beatriz Rendón is Vice President of Educational Outreach at Arizona State University (ASU) and Chief Executive Officer of ASU Preparatory Academy charter schools (ASU Prep)., where she is responsible for building and diversifying the pipeline of college going students into ASU. ASU Prep is ASU’s innovative, PreK-12 public charter school, currently serving over 2300 students across a diverse socioeconomic spectrum.  ASU Prep aims to integrate elementary, secondary and university courses to provide personalized instruction that advances students as they are ready and accelerates time to degree.

ASU Prep has schools in urban, suburban and rural communities and provides teaching and learning in three modalities: in person, blended (face-to-face using digital content) and full digital.  The in-person modalities are present in urban Phoenix and suburban Mesa, Arizona.  ASU Prep Phoenix has a non-white majority student population of which 70% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. It was a “turnaround” school when it was inherited as a failing school in 2009 but is currently a high performing school.  ASU Prep STEM PreK-12 Academies are physically located on ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Arizona.  ASU Prep’s mission and achievements to date illustrate that students from all socio-economic backgrounds can achieve a four-year university degree, compete globally and contribute to their communities. Most recently, ASU Prep realized a 100% high school graduation rate and 100% post-secondary attainment rate across its network.  The blended learning instruction is currently deployed in Tempe, rural Casa Grande and rural Miami, Arizona.  This fall ASU Prep is launching its digital modality with ASU Prep Digital HS which is serving students statewide, nationally and internationally.  Beatriz is currently leading expansion plans to significantly increase ASU Prep’s footprint to scale and impact the college going pipeline through innovative programming and partnerships within and outside of ASU Prep charter schools.

As the former Executive Director of Strategic Alliances for the Critical Path Institute, Beatriz provided leadership and philanthropic development support to scientific researchers working on pre-competitive biomarkers for important diseases. Beatriz also served as the Chief Business Officer for the Tucson Unified School District, the second largest district in Arizona, where she managed an operating budget of $360 million and helped resolve multi-million dollar deficits. From 1995-2007 Beatriz worked in several executive capacities at the Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the country, including leading “Renaissance 2010,” an initiative that launched in 2005 with the goal of opening 100 new, independently operated schools by 2010. By 2007, prior to moving back to the southwest, 83 schools had been opened under Renaissance 2010.

Beatriz is a Commissioner for the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and is also a Fall 2015 Fellow of the Pahara Aspen Education Fellowship program. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Beatriz is a first-generation college student, second-generation Mexican American.  She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona in Political Science, a Masters of Public Policy from the University Of Chicago Harris School Of Public Policy, and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Beatriz is fluent in Spanish, and is also an accomplished saxophonist. She and her husband are parents of five children ages 10 to 18.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson City of Mobile

Sandy’s mission is for Mobile to become the safest, most business and family friendly City in America by 2020. His visionary goal to unite the City, known as One Mobile, has empowered every Mobilian to have a voice. He was first elected in 2013. During his first term, he worked hard to address issues of public safety, fiscal responsibility, downtown revitalization, and blight eradication. He was reelected by a landslide in 2017.

Sandy’s mark on Mobile is most evident in his passionate dedication to improving education and equipping children with the life skills they need to succeed. He has been chairman and a long-serving board member of both UMS-Wright Preparatory School and Prichard Preparatory School. He is a member of the University of Alabama’s President’s Cabinet.

Sandy’s civic and business endeavors are numerous and varied. He has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, where he served as chair in 2009, and the Business Council of Alabama, where he served as chair in 2010.

Sandy graduated from the University of Alabama in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He spent nearly forty years in the lumber manufacturing business. Sandy and his wife Jean have been married since 1975 and have four grown, married children and twelve grandchildren. They are longtime, active members of Ashland Place United Methodist Church.

Ginger Spencer Director of Public Works Department, City of Phoenix

Ginger Spencer has 19 years of local government experience. She is currently the director for the city of Phoenix Public Works department – a department with 1,000 employees. As Public Works director, Ginger manages all major programs and operations for Public Works, including administration, facilities management, fleet management and solid waste.  Previously, Ginger served as the assistant public works director and was responsible for managing the Solid Waste Services program, which includes residential garbage and recycling collection for 400,000 residents, management of the city’s landfills, transfer stations, municipal recycling facilities and education and outreach efforts. She also served as deputy public works director over the administrative services division and was responsible for the department’s human resources, fiscal, procurement, IT and environmental operations. She oversees a $245 million dollar operating budget and a $110 million dollar capital improvement program.  She has held various leadership positions and special assignments in the city, including having served as the second director of the city’s nationally recognized Family Advocacy Center, Arts and Culture administrator and special assistant to the city manager.

A native of Phoenix, Ginger holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Arizona State University.  She is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Association, American Public Works Association, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA) and the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Solid Waste Advisory Committee.  In 2013, she was named by The Phoenix Business Journal as one of the top “40 Under 40” business leaders in Phoenix.

Julia Wallace former Edit-in-Chief, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Market VP, Cox Media Group (CMG) Ohio; Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism, Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Julia Wallace was a top media executive and high-ranking editor at four major newspapers. She was the first woman editor-in-chief of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and led a successful effort to converge TV, newspaper, radio and digital organizations at Cox Media Group Ohio. Before joining Atlanta, she was managing editor of the Arizona Republic and also served as managing editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and USA Today. As the Frank Russell Chair, Wallace teaches classes on the future of news, new business models and innovative ways of thinking about journalism at the Cronkite School. She was named the 2004 Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher Magazine. Her alma mater, Northwestern University, inducted her into the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement and awarded her the Alumni Merit Award. While she was editor in Atlanta, the newspaper won two Pulitzer prizes. She is a national board member of the Alzheimer’s Association.