Shirley Clarke Franklin


Formerly Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin is currently the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin.  After Ms. Franklin left office, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College where she served until June 2011. Ms. Franklin became the first African-American woman elected Mayor of a major southern city in 2002, serving two-terms until 2009, when she was prevented from seeking reelection by term limits.

During her tenure as Mayor, Ms. Franklin partnered with many local and regional leaders to address policy challenges such as urban planning, economic development, and infrastructure improvement. She is best known for tackling major government operations and ethics reform, launching the Atlanta Beltline, planning and executing over $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, launching the Regional Commission on Homelessness, and developing successful business and public sector partnerships and alliances.

Aside from her role as a public official, Ms. Franklin’s community service to Atlanta spans nearly 40 years, and includes her support of the arts and higher education and work to support the homeless. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Purpose Built Communities, a national holistic community revitalization organization, and President of Clarke-Franklin and Associates, Inc. 

Ms. 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 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2013 Commission to Build a Healthier America. Additionally, Ms. Franklin serves on the Board of Directors of Mueller Water Products and Delta Air Lines. She is a contributor to several books including, Leaders on Ethics, Real-World Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges, Principles for a Successful Life, Megaregions-Planning for Global Competiveness, and Investing in What Works for America’s Communities. Ms. Franklin is a frequent speaker on leadership, public policy and community engagement.

Ms. Franklin received her BA in sociology from Howard University and her MA, also in sociology, from the University of Pennsylvania.