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Senior Advisor, Office of the First Deputy Mayor, NYC Mayor’s Office
Jainey K. Bavishi is currently Senior Advisor in the Office of the First Deputy Mayor in the New York City Mayor’s Office, under Mayor Eric Adams.
She was previously appointed by Mayor Bill De Blasio in January 2017 as the Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Jainey led the City’s OneNYC resiliency program, preparing the city for the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats. This included significant initiatives within the City’s multilayered resiliency program working to strengthen neighborhoods, adapt buildings, improve infrastructure and upgrade the coastline. She also served as the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer
as part of New York City’s participation in the 100 Resilient Cities program, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Previously, Jainey served as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In this role, she led the implementation of the climate preparedness pillar of the President’s Climate Action Plan. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Director of R3ADY
Asia-Pacific based in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was responsible for initiating, expanding and managing the start-up public-private partnership,
which focused on enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, she served as the Director of External Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor to the Administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, DC. She was also the Founding Director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of community-based leaders in the Gulf Coast region that focused on recovery
from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation.
Jainey has a Masters degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bachelors degree in public policy and cultural anthropology from Duke University.
Senior Fellow, Brookings Metro
Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs is a senior fellow at Brookings Metro as well as a senior adviser shaping and implementing the Brookings Metro team’s strategy for impact from the federal to the local level, and aligning public and private action, including business and philanthropy, for an inclusive and climate-smart recovery. Briggs also serves as a senior adviser at Freedman Consulting, LLC, and for the 2021-2022 academic year, he is a visiting fellow at the SNF Agora Institute on democracy at Johns Hopkins University.
Known for his wide range of interests and track record of building and reshaping fields, Briggs is an expert on economic opportunity and inclusive growth, racial equity and pluralism, housing, urban and regional development, and democratic governance in the U.S. and abroad. Briggs has testified before Congress on several of these topics. An award-winning educator and researcher, he is also an experienced manager in philanthropy and government.
His recent work at Brookings has helped catalyze public conversation about lessons of the pandemic economy on the urgency of making worker-centered innovation the new default in business (Fast Company); the opportunity to scale a “public option” to help gig workers find good work; the importance of one fair wage minimum for businesses as well as their workers and local economies; the need for engaging communities and investing in “shovel-worthy” infrastructure, not just “shovel-ready” projects, to ensure that historic federal investments expand access to wellbeing and promote equity (Planning); what a more democratic and equitable federalism would require and what it would mean for America’s future (Democracy Journal); and how to develop successful communities of practice, to drive learning, intergovernmental cooperation, and better outcomes, in and around the public sector.
Briggs’ books include The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America, which won planning’s top book award; Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe, a four-nation comparative study and finalist for the C. Wright Mills Prize for best scholarly book on a social problem, and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty, winner of the Louis Brownlow Award. His views have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, CNN, and other major media, in English and in Spanish.
In 2020, he served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Business, Public Service and Sociology at New York University and was a volunteer on the Biden-Harris Transition Team, conducting agency reviews, serving on the volunteer interviewer corps, and advising on business recovery, climate action, racial equity, worker empowerment, improving government effectiveness, philanthropic partnerships, and other issues.
Prior to joining Brookings, Briggs served for six years as vice president of the Ford Foundation, overseeing its inclusive economies and markets work globally along with its regional program teams based in China, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He led the foundation’s efforts to develop an actionable framework for understanding and challenging the drivers of inequality in our world, and also to build the field of impact investing and commit $1 billion of
endowment assets, the largest-ever for a private foundation, for that purpose. He was a member of the board executive committee for Living Cities, a consortium of America’s largest private foundations and financial companies.
Previously, Briggs was professor of sociology and urban planning in the
Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. From January 2009 to August 2011, he served as a program associate director (“pad”) in the White House Office of Management and Budget. There he oversaw a wide array of policy, budget, and management issues for roughly half the cabinet agencies of the federal government and many independent agencies.
Earlier in his career, Briggs worked as a community planner in six high-poverty
neighborhoods of the South Bronx, leading a project team that centered racial and economic equity and sustainable investment and won the American Planning Association’s top national award; a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he helped negotiate the redevelopment of public housing and lead the design of new economic development programs (to generate impact investment in low-income rural and urban communities) and of federal support for more sustainable regional growth and land use; and a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he launched, and then migrated to MIT, the popular open-source tools of the Community Problem Solving Project and Working Smarter in Community Development.
Briggs currently serves on the boards of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, Demos, the Global Impact Investing Network, JUST Capital, and One Fair Wage, as well as the steering committee for the nonpartisan Resilience Roadmap Project. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration.
Briggs holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard, and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University, and he was a Rotary Scholar in Brazil. His dissertation study, “Brown Kids in White Suburbs,” examined the effects of a landmark, court-ordered housing and school desegregation, becoming one of the most highly-cited works on social capital and the role it plays in economic opportunity and winning the annual best dissertation prize of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and
As founding owner of Metro-Source, Judith Williams Dangerfield has provided consultation to numerous local, state and national organizations and government entities across multiple subject matters including DBE program design, implementation and compliance, workforce development, small business development, Title VI and Environmental Justice, equity and inclusion in government contracting, strategies for closing the racial wealth-gap,
place-making and community economic development.
As a consultant she served for two-years as the Director of Supplier Diversity for the City of New Orleans and for three years as a Federal Monitor for the Consent Decree between the US Justice Department, the New Orleans Police Department and the City of New Orleans.
Ms. Dangerfield has been a presenter and panelist at the 2017 SOCAP International Conference, the 2015 PolicyLink Equity Summit and the 2009 BMW Foundation Siftung, Herbert Quant Responsible Leaders Forum. She holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from
Southern New Hampshire University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans.
Together with late husband Dr. Peter W. Dangerfield she co-authored “Voice of the Poor: Citizens Participation in Rebuilding New Orleans,” published in 2009 by the National Black Political Scientists Association. Ms. Dangerfield is a founding chair of the Ujaama Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Board of Directors of GoodWork Network.
Head of Utilities, Promise
Juliet Ellis is the Head of Utilities at Promise, a financial services technology
company. PromisePay provides a modern payment platform built for government, transforming the inconvenient and time-consuming process of paying down government debt into something that any resident can use. PromisePay is easy to use on mobile devices, offering all payment methods, in the languages residents speak, and broken down into easier payment plans.
This means that residents pay off debt faster, government receives more revenue, and government works better for everyone.
Previously, Juliet was the Chief Strategy Officer and Assistant General Manager at San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She also served as Executive Director at Urban Habitat, where she led a $200 million partnership with the Bay Area Council that created significant community benefits while ensuring competitive returns for investors.
She was also Associate Program Officer at the San Francisco Foundation, where she was responsible for the implementation of the Neighborhood and Community Development grantmaking program in the areas of workforce development, housing, homelessness, community development, and neighborhood planning.
Juliet is currently Chair of the Water Agency Leaders Alliance (WALA), which is a group of executives from public water and wastewater utilities across the nation working on equity issues in the water sector. For the past seven years, WALA has particularly focused on our sector’s retirement crisis and the need for skilled workers as well as water affordability.
She holds a Masters of Science in Business Administration from the San Francisco State University.
Senior Fellow, New America
Elizabeth Garlow is a fellow in New America’s New Practice Lab. Prior to joining New America, Garlow helped lead impact investing for Lumina Foundation, where she invested in early stage ventures focused on designing new and more equitable education and work pathways. She previously served as a policy advisor with the Obama Administration’s Community Solutions Task Force, where she managed the President’s Promise Zones initiative. Garlow originally hails from Detroit, where she co-founded and led Michigan Corps, which launched the nation’s first statewide Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. Garlow has served as a nonresident fellow with the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research where she helped launch a major research initiative focused on place-based strategies for human capital and economic development in small-mid sized U.S. cities. She is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and holds an MPA from Princeton University. In 2019, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Dominical School of Philosophy and Theology for her work with the Economy of Communion and Economy of Francesco initiatives to build a new moral economy.
Justice, Health, and Democracy Fellow, Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics
Tony Guidotti is a Justice, Health, and Democracy fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics and a Consultant with New America. As part of the Justice, Health, and Democracy Impact Initiative, Tony leads a research portfolio exploring the impact of economic dignity and security on the health of democratic institutions and how community wealth building methodologies can help develop local institutions and ensure wealth is broadly shared. Within New America, Tony works closely with Elizabeth Garlow, acting as project manager for The Opportunity Project, collaborating with federal and local agencies, along with other stakeholders, to develop alternative well-being metrics and digital tools to help communities implement them. He is interested in the intersection of property-owning democracy and distributism and motivated driven by a desire to foster normative principles, especially integral human development, within the public policy process.
Tony received his Master of Global Affairs from the University of Notre Dame in 2020. He has served as a Research Partner for Catholic Relief Services in Bangladesh and Uganda, studying how humanitarian cash transfers could be used to improve refugee financial inclusion, and as a Livelihood Consultant with Food for the Poor in Honduras. Most recently, Tony was an Innovation Fellow with enFocus, partnering with civic institutions to foster sustainable and community-driven economic programming. Tony enjoys board games, reading, and loudly supporting the Minnesota Vikings and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football teams.
PhD, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Brookings Metro; Director, Remodeling Futures Program, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies
Trained as an architect, construction engineer, and historian of technology, Dr.
Martín connects the bricks and mortar of housing to social and economic outcomes of occupants, especially at the intersections of environmental and construction quality in housing with racial equity and income disparity. For over 20 years, he has led evaluation, research, and policy analysis for
federal, state, and civil-sector entities in the fields of energy efficiency, housing construction and design, climate mitigation and adaptation, disaster management, and energy and environmental justice.
Recent publications include: Public Funding of Coastal Adaptation: A Review of US Public Sources—and the Case for More; Understanding the Pace of HUD’s Disaster Housing Recovery Efforts; Understanding US Housing Data in Relation to the 2017 Disasters; Housing Recovery on the Gulf Coast; Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation through Publicly Assisted Housing, The Silence Before the Storm: Advocacy Groups’ Current Perceptions of Future Climate Vulnerability; Insult to Injury: Natural Disasters and Residents’ Financial Health; and Institutionalizing Urban Resilience.
Currently, Dr. Martín is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at Brookings Metro and
is the Director of the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Dr. Martín previously led the Urban Institute’s Built Environment practice area, leading all research on energy efficiency, climate adaptation, environmental governance, the housing industry, and construction regulations. Before Urban, Dr. Martín was assistant staff vice president for construction codes and standards at the National Association of Home Builders, SRP professor for energy and the environment at Arizona State University, and coordinator for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing.
Carlos received his BSAD in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MEng and PhD degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University.
Assistant City Manager, City of Tallahassee
Abena Sackey Ojetayo is a senior executive with experience in the design and execution of high impact programs in the U.S., Europe, and Africa. She helps organizations create sustainable programs and build community resilience. She also develops ideas that meet the triple bottom line of safety, prosperity, and environmental stewardship.
As Assistant City Manager, Abena is part of the executive team leading the strategic vision and mission of the Florida capital city of Tallahassee, overseeing the City government’s Human Resources, Housing & Community Resilience, and Fleet teams, and the StarMetro public transit system.
Previously, Abena was the first Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Tallahassee, taking on the role in October 2017. Before then, her research and professional interests led her to various countries, including working as an energy and infrastructure planner of a town in Greece following a devastating earthquake, and managing an urban design team for the flood prone Anam New City, Nigeria. She has worked in climate action planning at Cornell University and was the founding Executive Director and Chief Sustainability
Officer at the the Florida A&M University Sustainability Institute.
Abena holds a BS in Engineering and a M.Eng. in Engineering Management from Cornell University.
Director, Business Intelligence and Analytics, CivilianCyber
Rob is a Visual Analytics Specialist with 15+ years technical business development, account management, and program management experience across public agencies, global healthcare, and enterprise business intelligence teams. Currently leads Business Intelligence and Workforce Analytics Research at CivilianCyber, and was formerly with AWS and Tableau leading cloud innovation programs. “I get excited about supporting enterprise organizations and public sector agencies in developing ‘insight and discovery’ streams that often include guided analytics workflows, geospatial analysis, web-data listener development, natural language processing (sentiment analytics), and/or survey data modelling. I’m based in Bothell, WA, near Seattle, and enjoy getting outdoors with my family, playing soccer, or with my two boys.
Professor, Graduate Center for Planning & the Environment, Pratt Institute
John Shapiro is a full time professor in the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, and its former chair. He was a partner in one of the region’s leading planning consultancies (formerly Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates), working most notably on the LISC-sponsored Comprehensive Community Revitalization Program (CCRP) in The Bronx. John has received over twenty New York City, New York State and national awards. He served a stint as the President of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association, spends his spare time working on a variety of pro bono
projects, and considers himself an opinionated New Yorker.
He holds an MS in City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute. He is a civic activist, consultant and mediator, and most happily, a father of two and husband of Riva Blumenfeld.
Adie Tomer is a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro and leads the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. Tomer is an expert in infrastructure policy and urban economics, with a particular focus on transportation and digital technology issues. Tomer’s work has received coverage and citations in international print publications and other media outlets, including The Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the BBC. Tomer has testified in front of the U.S. Congress about the future of American infrastructure and has advised staffs of presidential candidates.
Tomer leads a team whose work aims to better understand how infrastructure policies—from the federal through local level—impact economic development, social prosperity, and environmental resilience. Their work covers multiple infrastructure sectors, including transportation, water resources, and broadband. Tomer’s team regularly publish long-form reports and targeted analyses on topics including metropolitan transportation behavior, the
infrastructure workforce, and the economic dimensions of the digital divide.
Tomer holds a master’s in public policy from American University and a B.A. from the University of Florida. Tomer currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Eno Transportation Foundation.
Director of NUMO, World Resources Institute
Harriet is the Director of NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. NUMO is a new collaborative effort that aims to guide policymakers, the private sector and people toward a shared vision of cities and urban mobility.
The pace of technology-driven disruption in transportation is not only changing how people get around but changing cities themselves. Governments, companies, non-profits and residents are increasingly asking
how to incorporate ride-hailing, dockless bikes and scooters, and even autonomous vehicles into their communities in the best way. NUMO aims to help answer these questions through collaboration with alliance members around research priorities, innovative pilot projects, public engagement and policy development in cities around the world. Hosted by WRI Ross Center, NUMO is an outgrowth of the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, which more than 170 companies and governments have signed on to as a guiding vision for more sustainable, inclusive, prosperous and resilient cities.
Harriet has been deeply engaged on planning, smart mobility, disaster resilience, housing and community development issues for the past 2 decades. She has been working with organizations around the country to help states and localities prepare for a range of future challenges, including smart mobility; climate change; disaster recovery and resilience; housing affordability; and community development. She served in the Obama Administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. She initiated the first ever $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. Her work encompassed helping states, regions, cities,
counties and towns across the country build a strong foundation for resilience in the face of a changing climate, and for a diverse and prosperous economy based on enhancing community quality of place, economic opportunity, fiscal stability, transportation choice, and affordability. She was the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning under the past 2 Mayors, where she worked to make DC a walkable, bikeable, eminently livable, globally
competitive and thriving city.
She studied Engineering and Public Policy at Washington University. She was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Senior Fellow & Director, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking, Brookings
Jennifer S. Vey is an urban policy expert with nearly 25 years of experience in research, writing, and local engagement, with a focus on the connection between place, placemaking, and inclusive economic development.
Vey is a Senior Fellow with Brookings Metro and the Director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at Brookings. Vey’s work primarily explores how place-based policies and practices can generate widespread social, economic, and environmental benefits. Vey is the author or co-author of dozens of Brookings publications examining the changing needs of people and businesses; the implications of these shifts on how we live and work; and how transformative placemaking investments can support the development of more vibrant, connected, and inclusive communities.
Vey also co-edited “Retooling for Growth: Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Older Industrial Areas,” published by the American Assembly and Brookings Institution Press.
Prior to joining Brookings in 2001, Vey was a community planning and development specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Vey earned a master of planning degree from the University of Virginia and holds a B.A. in geography from Bucknell University. She lives with her family in Baltimore.
Brooke Evans (she/her) is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she established herself as a nationally-known activist on issues such as basic needs instability and affordable and accessible higher education. Brooke is a disabled person with lived experience of homelessness who has been involved with organizing, policy, governance, research, writing, consulting, and public speaking for more than 10 years. She is a champion of bridging constituency and policy to ensure impacted people are in the rooms and at the tables where all decisions are made as experts and leaders. She put these values into action by coordinating input from peers who have experienced homelessness and eviction across the country to help former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro build his 2020 Democratic presidential platform on housing and homelessness.
Malikah Garner is a mother, advocate, entrepreneur and the Mommy Ambassador At-Large at Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) in Detroit, MI. She is the co-founder and leader of the Mommy Ambassador program. Malikah’s passion for breastfeeding and maternal child health advocacy is centered on community support, impacting institutional policy, and inclusion in the breastfeeding community.
She has a background in marketing and project management with a degree from Saginaw Valley State University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwood University. In 2019, she founded Detroit Youth Code, a computer programming bootcamp focused on training and inspiring Detroits youth as the next generation of STEM leaders.
Malikah is a proud advocate for the community. In 2021, she joined Hope Starts Here, Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership to help make Detroit a city that puts children first. As a Mommy Ambassador with BMBFA, she has published articles about her breastfeeding journey and advocacy, and her perspective on normalizing Black breastfeeding has been featured on national platforms such as Good Morning America. She joined the FFI team in 2022, eager to learn from and collaborate with other leaders across the country on community centered solutions and to build a community bill of rights.
Malikah is the proud mother of two amazing boys, Nolan and Aaron. She enjoys fitness, archery, reading and spending time with family & friends. Malikah is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Detroit Alumnae Chapter.
My name is Shaphon. I am a mother of 5 and an advocate for families dealing with the child welfare system. As a community member with lived experience, my passion is driven by the clear inequality that runs throughout systems to unbalance the family foundation. So often policies and laws are created by those who do not share the same values, culture, or traditions which creates barriers for those who are directly impacted. I am honored to have the resilience to put forth change from first hand experience and to share the work that has been in the making to give a true voice from the community.
Wykeisha Howe is a unique parent and community activist. Wykeisha managed to use her lived experience to support parents in her community through a grassroots organization called Official Paren Avengers, focusing on everyday families becoming more engaged in their community and becoming self-sufficient.
A super volunteer serving over 12 years in volunteer services within the public library and the last 9 years in the local schools. Adding to that, Wykeisha is engaged in her Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) serving as Sergeant of Arms and on the Education Committee as chair and vice chair.
Wykeisha’s mission is to increase community engagement in the City of Atlanta communities.
This experience leads her to create the Respect Cascade initiative, which brings awareness to street safety near and around schools. Wykeisha created Atlanta Parent Alliance to focus on accountability around health, housing, transportation, education, public safety, and clean energy.
Patrick McNeal is the Director of the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council (NFNAC). The NFNAC brings together residents, school leaders and community stakeholders in some of the most economically disenfranchised areas of Flint, MI to plan, implement, and sustain comprehensive revitalization efforts that improve the lives of residents and provide them with the loudest voice in that change and helping them to remember ‘nothing about us without us.” He is also the Lead Facilitator/Certified Life Coach of Community Roots, a coaching and consulting firm based in Flint, MI that seeks to help individuals, community groups, churches and nonprofits identify and engage with issues of poverty, access, racial reconciliation and others in the mission field near their physical location. He is also a certified Digital Storyteller/Trainer through the Story Center. He utilizes his gift of storytelling to assist individuals and groups to share their story utilizing their own voice.
A believer in lifelong learning, Patrick has earned both a Masters in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters of Divinity from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Patrick also serves his community through the Conflict Resolution Center as a certified mediator. His service to the poor, combined with his passion for telling and showing all that will see and hear that there is life in the Word of God, are so vividly illustrated in the verses that continue to guide his life: “Trust in the LORD will all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5,6)
Jennifer Olsen, President and CEO of LocalFirst Group, LLC, is an award-winning community consultant and activist, caregiver, bodyworker, baker, and farmer who helps groups and individuals challenge systems toward a healthier, more equitable, joyous, and inclusive community.
Shemekka Ebony Stewart-Isaacs, the Founder of Black Girl Magic Market and co-founder of I Am Brilliant was recently featured in New York Times Magazine 2021 Money Edition. Her experience in community engagement and leadership coaching support the development of much needed mindset shifts towards sustainable business growth and leadership development. Shemekka Ebony’s current work is serving as a leadership coach for Johns Hopkins University HPRS PhD Scholars and an active mentor with Nasdaq mentor makers initiative.
Victoria Washington is a native Detroiter and homeschooling mother of one. She earned her B.S. Chemistry degree from the University of Michigan and is currently serving as a Special Projects Program Director for a local non-profit. Victoria is passionate about intentional parenting and community advocacy. She aims to influence the development and implementation of programs and services that directly impact parents and families. She uses her voice to shape the direction of support and resources that will equitably honor parent input. Victoria currently serves as the Treasurer and co-founder of the Mommy Ambassador program at Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. Having breastfed her daughter for over 4 years, Victoria is an avid breastfeeding advocate and is a certified community based doula.