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2013-2014 Speakers 

2014 Keynote Speaker: Mark Mallory

Providence Symposium Speaker Date: November 6, 2014

Mark Mallory Leading Cincinnati during one of the most difficult economic periods, Mayor Mark Mallory’s two-terms in office are marked by bold leadership, inspiration and partnership. During his administration, the city embarked on major projects such as the development of The Banks, overcoming a decade of negotiation stalemate to develop 18 acres of land along the Ohio River between the Bengals and Reds stadiums Downtown; the continued redevelopment of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood through partnering with non-profit development corporation 3CDC to transform dozens of buildings into hundreds of apartments and condos; a $47-million renovation of Washington Park, an historic city park; and the construction of a streetcar scheduled to open for service in 2016.

Mallory championed a vision of a modern city that competes nationally and internationally for business and investment; Cincinnati residents followed suit, rallying their colleagues and neighbors to help make change happen. To get there, the mayor committed the city as a partner to economic development initiatives including major retail, commercial and residential real estate projects, business attraction campaigns, and transportation initiatives. At the Symposium, Mayor Mallory will share how he convinced city residents these projects were worth investing in, brought key parties to the table and ushered in positive change for the City of Cincinnati.

Read more about Mark Mallory:
Providence Journal
Read about a major Cincinnati downtown development project likened to 111 Westminster Street and a testament to Mark Mallory's work in making Cincinnati development-friendly.
From the story:
"And Holtzman 'blames' the development in Cincinnati for making this a project his company wanted to pursue. 'You've created a great environment for us, so that's why we're here,' he told me." - Cincinnati Business Courier

Gabe Klein

Providence Symposium Speaker Date: November 7, 2014

gabe-klein Gabe Klein served as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2013, after being appointed to this position by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Gabe and his management team transformed the agency into a national model for innovation in public space, transportation and technology, building a deserved reputation for getting things done. The soon to be largest bikeshare program in the United States, Divvy, has already revolutionized how Chicagoans navigate their neighborhoods.

Before moving to the public sector, Gabe was a successful entrepreneur. At the end of 2002, Gabe became regional Vice President for Zipcar, overseeing the car sharing system in the D.C. region. By the end of his tenure at Zipcar in 2006, Gabe had transformed this unheard of concept and brand; Washington D.C. became the nation’s largest carsharing city by membership and vehicles, had purchased Flexcar, and modeled for international expansion.

In 2006, Gabe co-founded On The Fly, an innovative, boutique food-service company. On the Fly was one of the first multi-unit and multi-channel street vending companies in the U.S. with brick and mortar stores and mobile catering operations.

In 2008, Gabe was unanimously elected as Director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, appointed as a next-generation game changer by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Gabe attacked on all fronts, and built a customer focused agency that is being hailed as a leader nationally in technology, customer interface, and multi-modal innovation, as well as innovative finance; he set the standard for everything from parking technology, to the nations first, and largest bikesharing program, Capital Bikeshare.

Benjamin R. Barber

Providence Symposium Speaker Date: May 23, 2014

Benjamin R. Barber is author of the recently-released If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. With this book, Barber asserts that cities, and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance.

Benjamin R. Barber is a Senior Research Scholar at The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of The Graduate Center, The City University of New York; the President and Founder of the Interdependence Movement; and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Rutgers University. An internationally renowned political theorist, Dr. Barber brings an abiding concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, globalization, culture and education in America and abroad. He consults regularly with political and civic leaders in the U.S. (President Clinton, Howard Dean) and around the world (Germany, U.K., Libya, Italy).

Barber blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and writes for The Nation, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Prospect, Le Nouvel Observateur, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, El País and The Guardian. He was a founding editor and for ten years editor-in-chief of the distinguished international quarterly Political Theory. He holds a certificate from the London School of Economics and an M.A. and Doctorate from Harvard University.

Grow Smart RI logo Presented in partnership with GrowSmart RI. With our strategic partners, we are bringing national experts to Providence throughout the year to talk about creating healthy and successful urban environments. We are happy to partner with Grow Smart RI on presenting Benjamin Barber as our next speaker in the Symposium series.



Jennifer Bradley

Providence Symposium Speaker Date: January 23, 2014

jennifer bradleyJennifer Bradley Fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program,  co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution

Jennifer Bradley has vast knowledge of the urban economy and local governments. As a fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, she examines the critical role of metropolitan areas in the country’s economy, society, and politics. She has worked extensively on the challenges and opportunities of older industrial cities and has co-authored major economic turnaround strategies for Ohio and Michigan. In addition, as a former attorney, Ms. Bradley co-authored Supreme Court amicus briefs in cases that affirmed the constitutional powers of local governments and secured greater environmental protections. She has written popular articles in such publications as Newsweek, The New RepublicThe Atlantic MonthlyHuffington PostDemocracy, Next American City and American Prospect. Ms. Bradley is a graduate of the University of Texas; Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar; and the Georgetown University Law Center.


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 Adrian Benepe

Providence Symposium Speaker Date: November 12, 2013

Adrian Benepe Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development, The Trust for Public Land

Adrian Benepe has worked in a leadership role on park and public space conservation, design, construction, and operation, and in the realms of city planning, arts and culture, historic preservation, as well as landscape and urban design, all in the public and non-profit sector, his entire career. Much of that work was done at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, where he served as Parks Commissioner for eleven years under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He now serves as Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land, a national organization founded in 1972 to protect land in and around cities, and to pioneer new land conservation techniques. Over the years, its work has expanded to include projects from inner city to wilderness, and this broad experience has made the organization a national leader and innovator in city park creation, state and local conservation funding, and using GIS for conservation and park planning. In his capacity at The Trust for Public Land, Benepe oversees the urban work of more than thirty offices across the United States, whose projects include parks, playgrounds, gardens, and greenways.

Born and raised in New York City, Benepe graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, after which he became a member of the first corps of NYC Parks & Recreation's Urban Park Rangers in 1979. He then served in several positions at NYC Parks, including Director of Public Information, Operations Coordinator, Director of Natural Resources & Horticulture, and Director of Art & Antiquities. From 1990 to 1993, Commissioner Benepe was the Director of the Annual Fund & Major Gifts for the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. From 1994 to 1996 he served as Vice President for Issues & Public Affairs for the Municipal Art Society, working on planning, historic preservation, and other civic programs.

After six years in the non-profit sector, he returned to NYC Parks & Recreation in January 1996 as the Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner. He served in that position until he was appointed Commissioner of Parks & Recreation in January, 2002. In this role he oversaw one of the nation's largest and most complex urban park systems, including over 29,000 acres of public park land, with nearly 5,000 properties encompassing more than 1,000 playgrounds, 600 athletic fields, 600 tennis courts, 63 swimming pools, 35 recreation centers, 14 miles of beach, and over 2.5 million street and park trees, with an annual expense and capital budget of over $1 billion.

In addition to a B.A. in English Literature, Benepe holds Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. In 1987, he participated in the Mayor's Top 40 Program, and in 1992 he was selected to participate in Leadership New York, a program of the Coro Foundation.



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