City Employee Gardere Honored By Living Cities Among Top 25 Disruptive Leaders In U.S.

NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced that Ashleigh Gardere, Executive Director of The Network for Economic Opportunity and Senior Advisor to Mayor Landrieu, has been recognized by Living Cities as one of the nation’s top 25 Disruptive Leaders. Living Cities, a collaborative of 18 leading foundations and financial institutions, has recognized leaders who dare to act urgently and with unrestrained imagination to improve economic outcomes for low-income people in America’s cities.

         To highlight what disruptive leadership looks like in practice, Living Cities called on more than 300 urban grant makers, lenders, policymakers and practitioners from across the country to nominate individuals who they believe demonstrate true Disruptive Leadership.

         “Ashleigh works diligently and deliberatively to serve the people of New Orleans, and we are proud to have her on our team,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “She has earned this distinction by dedicating her energy toward creating economic opportunity for all of our residents. This recognition is another example of how New Orleans has become our nation’s most immediate laboratory for innovation and change and represents our commitment to the new New Orleans way of getting things done.”

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         Gardere was selected for her focus on strategies aimed at connecting more jobseekers and local business to work. In addition to managing the City's agencies responsible for workforce development and supplier diversity, Gardere supports the revitalization of the Claiborne Corridor through a cross-sector initiative called The Network for Economic Opportunity. The Network facilitates and manages partnerships among local industries, small businesses, residents, non-profits and City agencies to drive long-term revitalization.

         Ashleigh Gardere, Executive Director of The Network for Economic Opportunity and Senior Advisor to Mayor Landrieu, said, “I am honored to be named a Disruptive Leader by Living Cities. Through The Network for Economic Opportunity and Mayor Landrieu’s Economic Opportunity Strategy, we are building a comprehensive effort to connect our disadvantaged jobseekers and businesses to new opportunities by working to ensure that every resident can take part in our city’s economic growth. Through partnerships with local training providers, social service agencies and community advocates, we are creating pathways to prosperity and making sure no one is left behind.”

         Gardere will be honored through a media campaign and a Living Cities event on Sept. 27, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

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         Living Cities President and CEO Ben Hecht said, “Later this month, Living Cities will celebrate its 25th anniversary. As we reflect on 25 years of working to tackle disparities and achieve dramatically better results for low income people, we are more convinced than ever that bold leadership is required to disrupt the status quo and close racial gaps. We believe that Ashleigh’s hard work and leadership embody what’s possible when we lead and work together differently towards a more equitable America.”

         Gardere was selected alongside President and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund Nancy O. Andrews, Founder of eBay Pierre Omidyar, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America Jennifer Pahlka, PolicyLink CEO, Founder and President Angela Glover-Blackwell, and Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

         Launched in September 2014, the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy connects disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities. As part of the strategy, the Network for Economic Opportunity revised the city’s DBE policy and introduced a new local hire ordinance known as Hire NOLA. Click here to see more on the Network.

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         Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collaborative of 18 leading foundations and financial institutions (including the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, among others) committed to improving economic opportunity for low income people in America’s cities. Living Cities reps said over the years, their unique mix of assets—grants, loans, partnerships and knowledge—has helped to build hundreds of thousands of homes, grocery stores, and schools; shape billions of dollars in local and federal funding programs; and improve the lives of millions of low-income people. The leaders of these participating institutions not only fund the group, they sit on its governance board and partner with them towards solutions, Living Cities reps said.

         For more information



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