the initiative



mahlet aklu - program director, executive education

Mahlet oversees the day-to-day operations and delivery of executive education programs for mayors and their senior staff.

Mahlet has over ten years of experience in Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. Her programs have focused on innovation, leadership and management, public policy and public financial management. Mahlet has worked with program participants from all corners of the world and from multiple sectors, including federal, state and local, private and non-profit.

Prior to the Kennedy School, Mahlet worked in social services in Virginia, investigating cases of child abuse and neglect and providing comprehensive services to children and their families. She also worked in California, making medical, financial and other decisions on behalf of low-income elderly. Mahlet holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Social Work.


lisa cox - academic content producer

Lisa Cox is the academic content producer for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, where she works with faculty and staff to write, edit, and shepherd content—such as books, case studies, videos, and articles—through production and publication.

Formerly, Lisa was the communications manager for the Sorenson Impact Center, where she penned articles and helped produce films on social impact published on Forbes, ghostwrote op-eds and speeches, coordinated press for the annual Winter Innovation Summit, maintained and wrote copy for several websites, wrote press releases, etc. Prior to that role, she was a case writer and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she worked with professors in the fields of social enterprise, finance, technology ventures, entrepreneurship, and leadership. She also spent three years as a consultant, two years as a financial analyst in New York City, and a year at the Fulbright Commission in Madrid, Spain.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the Harvard University School of Extension Studies.


warren dent - program manager, content & communications

As program manager for content and communications, Warren oversees the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s curriculum material development, research agenda, and communications strategy.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Warren spent three years at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation (PON) where he managed a global communications campaign to market and disseminate PON’s thought leadership and teaching products.

Warren has spent over a decade in the television post-production industry as a designer, producer, and project manager working with clients in the public, private, and nonprofit sector. He received an Emmy® award in 2007 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Design Communications from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.


Alison Dorsey Eden - SPecial Projects

At the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Alison Dorsey Eden focuses on engaging students in local government service and supporting collaboration initiatives. Before coming to Harvard, Alison served as the Senior Advisor for Workforce and Partnerships in the North Carolina Department of Commerce, where she led cross-departmental work to develop the Cooper Administration’s workforce development platform, NC Job Ready. Alison is passionate about connecting all workers with a path to support their families and contribute to their communities, and she is dedicated to helping more workers find their path into public service.

Prior to her time in government, Alison led social impact and government partnerships at LinkedIn. There, she leveraged the company's data and technology to create the world’s largest skilled volunteering platform, a thriving military and veterans program, and data-driven partnerships with city and state workforce development teams, using LinkedIn’s economic graph data to address regional skills gaps.

A social entrepreneur at heart, before joining LinkedIn, Alison co-founded a social venture incubator in Durham, North Carolina, as well as a talent market platform for students. Alison holds a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and an Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. 


Kristy Griffith - senior program coordinator, executive education

Kristy is a senior program coordinator for Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. Before joining the Kennedy School, Kristy worked in higher education as a specialist for Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education. Throughout her time at the Division, she was responsible for supporting and advising a wide array of nontraditional students, many of whom were in summer school, at a distance/online, or returning to education as adults. She is passionate about education, having previously worked in special education and as a substitute teacher in elementary schools.

Kristy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her academic interests include public policy, sustainability, and mathematics.

For fun, Kristy enjoys scuba diving, and therefore has had the pleasure of visiting Bonaire, Fiji, and Guam.


Courtney Hall - Project manager, impact evaluation

Courtney is responsible for assessing the impact of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s work and for providing Initiative leaders and staff with data to facilitate continuous improvement and learning.

Before joining the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Courtney worked for Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, evaluating university policies and programs. She also served as the senior statistician for evaluation for the New Mexico Public Education Department, where she managed and conducted teacher and school evaluations throughout the state.

She holds a Master of Arts in Urban Education Policy from Brown University and a Master of Science in Quantitative Methodology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  


glendean hamilton - program manager

Glendean serves as the point person for maintaining ongoing relationships with mayors and their executive leadership. She is responsible for planning for continual engagement opportunities that build on previous touch points and for building a community among the program’s participants.

Glendean has a background as an educator and researcher. She worked in research and grant making at an education foundation focused on advancing student-centered curriculum within schools across New England. Glendean also taught middle school English in Lawrence, MA. Her interest in cities and mayoral development stems from her passion of strengthening communities for the betterment of all citizens.

Glendean holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.


bulbul kaul - Program Manager

Bulbul is responsible for managing ongoing supports for participating cities and for making connections to resources both within and outside of Harvard.

Previously, Bulbul worked at Abt Associates Inc., a policy research and consulting firm, and also worked at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, where she focused on urban policy research and evaluation.

Bulbul has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.


David Margalit - executive program director

Throughout his career, David has developed and managed strategy, systems, technology, and teams that have transformed service delivery in cities and governments. He has re-imagined a variety of government services – overcoming constraints and inertia to foster innovation, build new service models, and expand impact. Most recently, David was chief operating officer of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, known as NYSERDA, where he was responsible for re-positioning his agency in order to stimulate private sector investment in cleaner and more affordable energy.

David holds several prior experiences in New York City government, including: leading efforts to make government more usable for businesses, turning around NYC's job placement and training services, revitalizing NYC’s business services, and improving customer service across multiple agencies. He has worked as a software executive, where he grew his company’s ability to implement technology that automates municipal government services. He has also served as an adjunct professor, most recently at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.

David holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Delaware, where he was a Eugene DuPont Distinguished Scholar, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is motivated to reduce bureaucracy and friction in order to accelerate progress in our economy and cities– and is passionate about business models that improve service delivery through technology.


Nina Parrott - program coordinator, executive education

Nina is a program coordinator for Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Boston College with a concentration in Ethics and International Social Justice, and a minor in Political Philosophy. During college, she studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, and hopes to return again soon.

Nina has previously worked at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and for Harvard University Information Technology. She has also studied as an organic farm apprentice and worked as a restaurant line cook in Cambridge, MA.

In her free time, Nina enjoys listening to audio books while exploring Boston on foot and playing French horn in a local ensemble.


Brenda Tobin - Project manager, operations & technology

Brenda manages operations and oversees technical implementations for the Initiative.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Brenda worked at American Well, a health technology company based in Boston that connects patients instantly with health providers over secure video. As a project manager, she oversaw white label telehealth solution implementations for health plan clients across the US. Previously, Brenda was based in Washington, DC where she worked within the international development sector, managing a USAID Cooperative Agreement, and assisting with operations at the Center for Global Development. She spent two years in Cambodia as a Peace Corps volunteer focusing on maternal and child health education.

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the George Washington University and a Master in Business Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management from Boston University.


Jane Watts - Project Coordinator

As project coordinator, Jane provides ongoing programmatic, operational and administrative support to the Initiative.

Jane has a background in education, with a focus on higher education administration. Prior to joining the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Jane worked as a college admissions counselor at The New School and Emory University. Jane also worked at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and a Master in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.