The City Accelerator microsite is a collaboration among Living Cities, the Citi Foundation, and the Governing Institute. Meet the people who are working together on the City Accelerator team.
For the Citi Foundation
Brandee McHale is President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. She is responsible for overseeing the Citi Foundation's global grant making strategy and for leading Citi's citizenship efforts, including volunteerism and environmental sustainability. Brandee is Board Chair-Elect of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and also serves on the board of directors of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Living Cities.
Kristen Scheyder is the Senior Vice President for Financial Inclusion and Sustainable Cities at Citi Foundation. She collaborates with a broad array of local and national partners to develop innovative programs that help promote economic progress and make cities work better for all residents with a focus on achieving scale and financial sustainability.
Jonathan Simon is a director in Corporate and Investment Banking on Citi’s Global Public Sector team. He is responsible for leading the North American footprint of Citi for Cities, Citi’s firm-wide strategy on urbanization, which focuses on promoting financial innovation and solutions that address the challenges of the urban center. He has senior banker client coverage responsibilities for New York City and related agencies, as well as for subsidiaries of sovereign wealth funds in the United States.
Josh Moskowitz serves as director, Strategic Initiatives, on Citi’s Global Public Affairs team. Josh manages GPA’s efforts with Citi for Cities, a cross-functional platform designed to highlight Citi’s commitment to enabling urban progress and expertise in providing innovative solutions to support the growth of cities around the world.
Ben Hecht was appointed president & CEO of Living Cities in July 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low- income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity.
Steven Bosacker is the director of public sector innovation at Living Cities. He most recently served as the city coordinator for the city of Minneapolis where he championed accountability and transparency in services across municipal government. He was instrumental in advancing public-private cooperation, including the development of the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, and oversaw the implementation of Minneapolis 311. Steven also created Results Minneapolis, a comprehensive management system that drove and tracked progress on the city’s long-term goals.
Nigel Jacob lead the inaugural cohort of the City Accelerator. Jacob is Living Cities' urban technologist in residence and founder and co-chair for the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston. With an extensive background in collaborative, citizen-facing technology projects, Nigel also served as Mayor Menino’s advisor on emerging technologies and continues to develop new models of innovation for cities in the 21st century. Prior to joining the city of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked for and launched a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area.
leads the City Accelerator's cohort on Local Government Engagement. He is an associate professor in the department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College where he is the founding director of the Engagement Lab
. He is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Eric studies civic media and public engagement within the U.S. and the developing world. He is specifically interested in the application of games and play in these contexts. In addition to being a researcher, he is also the designer of award-winning "engagement games," which are games that facilitate civic participation. He has served as an expert advisor for the UN Development Program, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, the World Bank and municipal governments throughout the United States.
Jen Mayer leads the City Accelerator's cohort on planning and funding urban infrastructure. Mayer has more than 25 years of experience advising federal, state, and local transportation and environmental agencies on infrastructure finance and policy. As a consultant for Ernst and Young Infrastructure Advisors and Apogee Research, Inc, and as a technical advisor for the Federal Highway Administration, she helped state and local agencies create financial plans and issue bonds for infrastructure projects, create revolving loan funds, and consider and implement public-private partnerships (PPPs) and other financing innovations.
Elizabeth is an Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation at Living Cities where she works on the development of public sector strategies to foster promising public practices and accelerate the uptake of innovation across the country. With a background in human rights, workforce development, and farming, Elizabeth served as the first Food Policy Director for Newark, NJ under Mayor Cory Booker to develop policies and programs to increase food security for residents. She continued to serve the City of Newark as the Acting Sustainability Director in the Ras J. Baraka administration. Before municipal government, Elizabeth worked with international, national, and local nonprofits beginning her career in international human rights with Human Rights Watch and then later focused on criminal justice issues with the NJ Institute for Social Justice and her media work. One of her projects, a Frontline documentary, “The Drug Wars”, earned a Peabody for its telling of the 30-year history of US drug policy and its effect on the world economy and US foreign policy.
Nadia Owusulc is assistant director of strategic communications & storytelling at Living Cities. In this role, she leads Living Cities' communications work, focused on harnessing the power of story, information and technology to foster experimentation, co-creation, and adoption of promising approaches to address poverty and inequality in U.S. cities. In support of this, she develops and implements digital, content, community management, and event strategies to share what Living Cities is learning, and to learn from the work of others.
Elizabeth Vargas is a strategic communications and engagement associate with Living Cities. She is primarily responsible for managing Living Cities’ social media and Web strategies. She brings an enthusiasm for integrating digital media and traditional communications to drive social change. She helps Living Cities open-source social change, staying “in-the-know” on new trends and technologies in the digital and nonprofit communications space.
For the GOVERNING Institute
Julia Burrows is the director of the Governing Institute. Prior to joining Governing, Julia was vice president for corporate relations & advancement for Enable Energy (Enable), a renewable energy advancement company. Julia also served as the president and executive director of Greenwise Joint Venture, a high-impact regional nonprofit organization focused on transforming the Sacramento area into the greenest region in the country and a hub for clean technology. In this role, she served as senior advisor to Mayor Sacramento Mayor Johnson for sustainability, climate and resiliency initiatives. )
Ron Littlefield, a former mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., is a senior fellow with the Governing Institute and its lead analyst on the City Accelerator initiative. A city planner by career, he also consults to government through Littlefield Associates. Before he was elected mayor, Ron served on the Chattanooga City Council, including two terms as chairman. He has also served as the commissioner of public works for Chattanooga, as the city's director of economic development and has worked with the Tennessee State Planning Commission.
Paul W. Taylor, Ph.D., is the editor-at-large of Governing magazine. He also serves as the chief content officer of e.Republic, Governing’s parent organization, as well as senior advisor to the Governing Institute. Prior to joining e.Republic, Taylor served as deputy Washington state CIO and chief of staff of the state Information Services Board (ISB). Dr. Taylor came to public service following decades of work in media, Internet start-ups and academia. He is also among a number of affiliated experts with the non-profit, non-partisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in Washington, D.C.
Jeana Bruce Bigham is a content specialist for e.Republic and the Governing Institute, serving as editor for the City Accelerator site. She has written, edited and conceptualized content focused on technology in state and local government for the last eight years and is particularly passionate about simple, innovative technologies that improve the lives of citizens and help transform communities. She has held various positions with the Center for Digital Government and the Center for Digital Education, including editor of Converge magazine, director of publications and director of custom media.