COVID-19 Resource

Session 5: Situational Briefing & Crucibles of Leadership: From Conflict to Collaboration

Last Updated

COVID-19 Resources



We owe it to the health workers and the people on the front lines to accelerate our deep understandings so that we can get back to normal.” – Bill Gates

  Resources in this collection


In the fifth session, Howard Koh, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Kennedy School; Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School; Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Tom Frieden, former director of CDC and president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, explored collaboration—across sectors, departments, and levels of government—and the challenges, conflicts, and opportunities for effective leadership and a resilient recovery that come with this work. Bill Gates stressed the importance of relying on science to guide reopening the economy in his welcoming remarks to mayors.

‍Key Takeaways

Facing Conflict

The most energy-intensive work you have to do as mayor involves convening and collaborating with others across departments, sectors, and levels of government. These efforts leave you and your staff working overtime to navigate tangles of red tape and manage tensions around resources and finances, turf, personalities, and access to power.

Leading collaborative work in the midst of an unfolding and evolving crisis while keeping the urgent needs of your community front and center strains the best of us, but it also offers our best chance at an effective response and a resilient recovery.

Stay up to date on our latest work to improve cities

Follow us