“It has been an incredible ride—I am deeply grateful to have known and worked with you all.” Eleni Myrivili, known to us as Lenio, said her goodbyes to the Global Steering Committee, all Chief Resilience Officers and everyone in R-Cities.
Ever since I met Lenio, she has been on a mission: mobilize action to build resilience in Athens. Through her pioneering work on heat adaptation, she became a renowned advocate for building heat resilience and cooling down not only the Greek capital but also other cities worldwide.
Lenio is going global. She is now the first-ever global Chief Heat Officer, promoting a heat resilience agenda at UN-Habitat. In this position, Lenio will spearhead heat response and resilience measures in cities around the globe.
Watching her take a global role makes us feel proud and reassured. Her departure is a testament to her impact on Athens and our member cities, as well as our growing reach for advocating for resilience.
Lenio’s global position is a recognition of a new reality—countries, regions, cities and communities need to build resilience holistically to build a sustainable future for all.
Institutionalizing resilience with a Chief Resilience Officer and going deeper with a Chief Heat Officer is just the first step. A Resilience ‘Steering Head’ is as necessary for a city as essential as having a health, mobility and infrastructure head. As Lenio puts it, “Someone must ask the hard questions and help bring together the right people for the best possible solutions.“
We will miss having Lenio around. As part of the Global Steering Committee, she helped envision the future of R-Cities and was an ambassador and advocate for cities and the network. As part of the first cohort of Chief Resilience Officers, Lenio was a vital force in building R-Cities from the ground up. In the words of Arnoud Molenaar, Rotterdam’s Chief Resilience Officer, “Lenio was instrumental in establishing the network’s foundations and keeping it going and driving its transformation.“
As Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Athens, Lenio created the first Office of Resilience and Sustainability and launched the Athens Resilience Strategy for 2030, driving innovative solutions with a special focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities and establishing green infrastructure.
“Cities are phenomenal creatures, and so are the people devoted to them.” This is how Lenio describes her experience in R-Cities. And Lenio, you are one of these phenomenal people.
We look forward to seeing the contributions that Lenio will make at the global scale and teaming up in advancing urban resilience.
Elissavet Bargianni has been promoted to Head of the Resilience & Sustainability Office of Athens and appointed Chief Resilience Officer and Chief Heat Officer. Elissavet is new to the position but not the role. She has been essential in the adaptation of the resilience strategy in Athens. “It is a profound honor to take on the role of Chief Resilience and Heat Officer for Athens and fill the shoes of my esteemed predecessor, Eleni Myrivili. We have been collaborating for several years now, and I am eager to build on the work that she [Lenio] started, advancing solutions that protect all Athenians from extreme heat and create a cooler, more livable future,” said Elissavet in a recent interview.