Dr. Robert Blaine is the senior executive & director of the Center for Leadership, Education, Advancement, and Development (LEAD). For more than two decades, the YEF Institute has empowered thousands of municipal leaders across America to take bold actions, leading to better outcomes and greater equity for all children, youth and families in their communities.

Most recently, Dr. Blaine served as the City of Jackson’s Chief Administrative Officer under Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. In that role, he oversaw the City’s 2,200 employees and managed an annual budget of more than $500 million. Dr. Blaine also led the development and efficient implementation of the City of Jackson’s Strategic Plan which promotes a “dignity economy” – an economic model in which municipal investments are made towards the inherit dignity of every citizen in Jackson through early childhood success, financial empowerment and equitable workforce development. 

A nationally-recognized thought leader in the areas of public service, education and music, Dr. Blaine has presented on the TEDx stage on the topics of New Environments for New Brains and The Dignity Economy and was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013. Prior to his appointment with the City of Jackson, Dr. Blaine served as Associate Provost at Tougaloo College and as Dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning, Director of Orchestral Studies, and Professor of Music at Jackson State University, leading on the development of a compelling and collaborative learning environment for students and faculty.