In 2002, Shirley Franklin was the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of a major Southern city. She served two terms, leaving office in 2009. Currently Franklin serves as executive chairman of the nonprofit Purpose Built Communities and as president of Clarke-Franklin & Associates, Inc.
During her eight years as mayor, the city of Atlanta experienced unprecedented growth and gave Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing urban policy challenges, including urban planning, economic development and infrastructure.
From 2013 to 2016, Franklin served as the inaugural Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and from 2010 to 2012 she was a visiting professor in political science at Spelman College.
Franklin co-chairs the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Regional Commission on Homelessness, serves as the chair of the National Center of Civil and Human Rights, and sits on the board of Delta Air Lines, The Volcker Alliance, and the Mueller Water Products.