Shirley C. Franklin

Former Mayor, City of Atlanta

Shirley C. Franklin is currently the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. After Franklin left office in 2010, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served until June 2011. She was the first African-American woman elected mayor of a major Southern city in 2002 and served two terms, through 2009.

During her eight years as Atlanta's mayor, the city experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing policy challenges, which included urban planning, economic development and infrastructure.

She is best known for advocating for and tackling major government operations and ethics reform, launching the Atlanta BeltLine, planning and executing over $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. papers, launching the Regional Commission on Homelessness, and developing successful business and public sector partnerships and alliances.

Aside from her role as a public official, her community service spans nearly 40 years in Atlanta and includes active participation in the arts, homelessness and higher education.

She is a contributor to several books, including "Leaders on Ethics: Real-World Perspectives on Today's Business Challenges," "5 Principles for a Successful Life," "Megaregions: Planning for Global Competitiveness" and "Investing in What Works for America's Communities."

Franklin is a frequent speaker on leadership, public policy and community engagement, having served over three decades as an executive in government and business.