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 B.A. and M.A. in Social Work.


Anna burgess - program coordinator, content & communications

Anna assists in the Initiative’s content creation and dissemination, and helps plan and execute the Initiative’s communications strategy.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Anna worked as a multimedia journalist, reporting in several Massachusetts cities. She has written extensively about city issues, including homelessness, property blight, government spending, and urban education. She has won regional awards for social media news coverage and for government reporting in defense of the public’s right to know.

Anna holds a B.A. in Sociology from Tufts University.


Anna Chang - senior program coordinator, executive education

Anna is the Senior Program Coordinator of Executive Education within the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Over the past three years, she has worked on over 35 executive education programs including the Emirates Leadership Initiative, a custom five-year contracted program developed for the Human Resources Authority of Abu Dhabi.

Prior to the Kennedy School, Anna worked for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise Program within the Harvard School of Public Health, where she planned and executed emergency preparedness events for healthcare and public health disciplines. Anna completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and received her Master of Science in Counseling and Applied Psychology from Northeastern University.


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 her B.S. from Cornell University and an M.A. 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’s degree in Design Communications from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.


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 an M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown University and an M.S 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 University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.


tessa kaneene - program manager

Tessa is responsible for connecting program participants to services and networks that support their development as leaders, connecting cities to services that improve their capacity to solve problems, and managing some of these services.

Throughout her career, Tessa's work has focused on the design of innovative projects, programs and policies rooted in social justice. She has worked in international development in Guatemala and Brazil, on urban policy initiatives for the cities of San Francisco, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro -- and on environmental justice issues on behalf of the cities of Baltimore and Detroit. 

Tessa holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Princeton University and a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University.


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 BS from the University of Delaware, where he was a Eugene DuPont Distinguished Scholar, and an MBA 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 degree 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.


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 of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.