Congress of Cities Line-Up of Opening General Session Speakers Announced

October 28, 2013

By Emily Pickren

This year’s Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle, Wash. promises to be the National League of Cities’ best and most memorable event yet.  It’s an exciting time for NLC as the organization continues to grow and adapt while remaining responsive to the needs of cities. NLC is working harder than ever to make sure local governments have ample opportunities to work with state and federal counterparts to grow our economy and jobs. This year’s Congress of Cities reflects these priorities.

In fact, “cities lead” is the theme of this year’s conference to honor the innovative work cities are doing to promote continued prosperity in our nation. The Congress of Cities will showcase the dynamic ways cities are driving change and finding successful solutions to the most pressing challenges in local government.

The Congress of Cities includes a very impressive line-up of general session speakers on the roster this year, one that attendees will draw both inspiration and ideas from. NLC is excited to announce that U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and former mayor of Charlotte, N.C. will be speaking at the opening general session on Thursday, November 14. As a former Mayor, he understands and appreciates the stake that local governments have in transportation policy, and has an impressive record of advocating for transportation initiatives that benefit cities.

NLC will continue its tradition of hosting a TED-style talk as part of the opening general session. In addition to Secretary Foxx, this year’s TED-style speakers will include: 

  • Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft
  • Carol Coletta, Vice President for Community and National Initiatives, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PolicyLink 

These three dynamic speakers will bring their insights and expertise to bear on the innovative technical transformations occurring in cities around the country, the role of creative placemaking and use of the art in developing dynamic and diverse communities and finally, the role of citizen engagement in advancing economic and social equity in communities.

The Congress of Cities, and the opening general session in particular will give participants the unique opportunity to discuss with their peers from around the country what it means to be truly engaged and proactive in shaping the future of the American city.