Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors
Sylvester is serving his second four-year term as the 62nd mayor of Houston. Since taking office, Mayor Turner has expertly managed significant challenges facing the US’s fourth-largest city, including budget deficits, homelessness, Hurricane Harvey, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He has created more responsive and efficient delivery of city services while shoring up Houston’s financial future.
Amid national unrest and calls for improving community and police relations, Sylvester signed an executive order restricting the use of force and created a Task Force on Policing Reforms. Sylvester’s signature priorities include Complete Communities, an initiative to revitalize Houston’s most underserved neighborhoods and create a more equitable and prosperous city for all Houstonians. He also created the Hire Houston Youth program to provide job opportunities for thousands of young people each year. He has forged public-private partnerships to improve neighborhood parks and increase Houston’s technology footprint. Sylvester has also expanded municipal investments in renewable energy.
Before becoming Houston’s mayor, Sylvester served for 27 years as the Representative for Texas House District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. Prior to his career in public service, Sylvester practiced law at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, and later founded Barnes & Turner Law Firm.
Sylvester is a member of the US Conference of Mayors Transportation and Communications Standing Committee, Vice-Chair of the National Climate Action Agenda, member of the Global Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy, and an advisory board member of the African American Mayors Association. In March 2020, the University of Houston honored Sylvester with the Pioneer of Public Service Award. Sylvester is also the recipient of the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honor.
Sylvester is a graduate of the University of Houston and earned a law degree from Harvard University.
Daniel is a special advisor to the United Nations on matters of risk analytics and finance. Over the last 20 years, Daniel has worked on every continent, advising public and private entities on a variety of complex risks, including natural hazards, pandemics and cyber attacks. He is a pioneer of #ResilienceFinance, helping capital find responsible investments in the face of climate and other extremes. He also supported the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Wildlife Fund in a pioneering initiative to protect UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
From 2006-2020, Daniel held a variety of leadership positions at Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the world’s leading catastrophe risk modelling company. Most recently, he was Global Managing Director at RMS, leading among other things the firm’s relationships with all levels of government. In 2018, Mayor Francis Suarez presented Daniel with a City of Miami Proclamation recognizing his commitment to raise awareness, foster cooperation, and deliver resilience to urban economies and communities in the face of sea level rise and the threat of extreme events.
Prior to RMS, Daniel was part of the group strategy and development function at an 80,000-employee, £10-billion, global healthcare group, serving 30 million customers in over 190 countries. He also has considerable start-up experience, having been part of the founding team of an award-winning fintech. He continues to advise tech companies, including Agritask, whose precision agronomics platform is improving economic resilience, protecting livelihoods and increasing food security.
Daniel holds a Master’s from the University of Oxford. He also studied for a master’s degree at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and is a graduate of the Center of Creative Leadership. A frequent keynote speaker, Daniel is often quoted in the Financial Times, the BBC and other tier one media.
Naina is the CEO and Chairperson of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network.
Under Naina’s leadership, AVPN has grown fourfold. A regional force for good with 600+ members, AVPN today supports the entire ecosystem of social funders, from venture philanthropists to impact investors and corporate CSR professionals. In 2019, Naina was identified as one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks.
Prior to joining AVPN, Naina was a member of the senior leadership team the Monitor Group, a leading global strategy consulting firm aimed at catalyzing markets for social change. She was also a co-founder of Group Fifty, providing a medium for Indian artists to showcase their work to large and diverse audiences.
Naina has a Master’s in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where she graduated at the top of her class. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, as well as a Diploma in Economics from the London School of Economics.
Dr. Sameh Wahba
Sameh Wahba, an Egyptian national, is the Regional Director for Sustainable Development at the Europe and Central Asia region in the World Bank. In this capacity, he oversees the formulation of the Bank’s strategy and engagements, and all Bank lending, technical assistance, partnerships, and policy advisory work in sustainable development the region. This includes agriculture and food, climate change, environment, natural resources and the blue economy, social inclusion and sustainability, water, urban, disaster risk management, resilience, and land. He oversees a portfolio of close to $10b USD in lending commitments and a team of 200 sustainable development staff, based in DC and 23 regional offices. He has over 25 years’ experience in urban development, land and housing, infrastructure, and sustainable development.
Prior to this, he served as the Global Director of Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, which also covered territorial development, geospatial, and results-based-financing and included an overall team of 450 professionals. He held several director and manager level positions at the global level and in Africa and worked as Sustainable Development Sector Leader for Brazil, based in Brasilia, and as an urban specialist in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Middle East and North Africa Regions where he led operations and policy dialogue on housing, land, local economic development, municipal management and service delivery. Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, he worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies.
Sameh holds a PhD and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University, and a BSc and MSc in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. He co-authored The World Bank’s flagship publications on “Regenerating Urban Land: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leveraging Private Investment” and “The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces,” as well as the “Culture in City Reconstruction and Recovery” jointly with UNESCO.
Ahmed Aboutaleb (born 1961 in Beni Sidel, Morocco) has been Mayor of Rotterdam since 2009.
Previously, Aboutaleb represented the PvdA (Labor Party) as State Secretary for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in the fourth Balkenende cabinet (2007-2008) and as an alderman in Amsterdam (2004-2007). At the age of fifteen, he came to the Netherlands for family reunification. The family resided in The Hague, where Aboutaleb successively attended Junior Technical School, Intermediate Technical School and Technical College, graduating in Telecommunications in 1987.
In the mid-1980s, Aboutaleb started his career in journalism. In 1991, he moved to public services, holding positions with the Ministry of Welfare, Health and Culture, the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). In 1998 he became an administrator for the Forum institute for multicultural development, and in 2002 he became director of the City of Amsterdam’s sector of Social, Economic and Cultural Development (MEC).
Mayor Aboutaleb strongly advocates the values enshrined in the Dutch Constitution: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the principle of non-discrimination. In his view, obtaining Dutch citizenship entails a responsibility to respect and uphold those values and to take part in building the so-called We Society. The more people take part, the stronger and more resilient that society will be, both in good and bad times. He’ll regularly takes neighborhood strolls throughout Rotterdam to have talks with residents about what concerns them.
Martha Herrera Gonzalez
Martha Herrera is the Secretary of Equality and Inclusion and Coordinator of the Cabinet of Equality for All People in the Government of the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
She is an activist passionate about development and social transformation. For more than 30 years she has dedicated her career to development banking, intermediate agencies, and the private sector.
Martha Herrera was Global Director of Social Impact at CEMEX for 25 years and Director of the CEMEX-Tec Center for Sustainable Development, President of the Global Compact of United Nations in Mexico, Chair of the Human Development Committee of the Council for Strategic Planning of Nuevo León (CONL), President of the United Nations Private Sector Resilience Network at the Global Level and Mexico, President of RedEAmerica in Latin America, among many other positions and has participated in more than 35 councils.
The programs she has directed have positively impacted more than 22.3 million people worldwide. She has led the establishment of more than 1000 alliances with associations global with governments, universities, multilateral organizations, CSOs, citizens and businesses.
She has been received more than 30 awards for her local, national, and international career. Among them, she has been recognized by organizations such as the UN, the OAS and the IDB, among others, for showing a culture responsible and resilient business as a key part of the strategy business and the creation of shared value as the “Leading Women Award” awarded by WBCSD for its leadership in contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
She has been named as one of the 100 most powerful women in business in Mexico by Grupo Expansión for more than 12 years. Forbes Mexico Magazine in its 2022 edition, designated her as one of the 30 Mexico’s most sustainable minds. She received the Medal of Civic Merit, a medal awarded by the Citizen Participation Council of the Government of Nuevo León, a recognition of integrity, honesty, and ethics, in the performance of their public, social or professional activities and for the benefit of the community.
Kyungsun Chung is a co-founder and managing partner of The Sylvan Group, an Asian private equity fund with an integrated ESG impact investment programme based out of Singapore. Founded in 2019, The Sylvan Group manages the Sylvan Asia Growth Fund I which focuses on investing in middle market growth companies in Asia with good ESG and impact investing potential. Kyung Sun leads The Sylvan Group’s integrated ESG Impact programme bringing with him his experience as the founder of Root Impact and HG Initiative(HGI).
Root Impact is a non-profit organization that builds infrastructures and assists the growth of Changemakers, through operating a community office, a community house, and an educational program/career matching platform. HGI is an impact investment company supporting social ventures and impact ecosystem in Korea. He also sits on the board of Rockefeller philanthropy advisors.
Hon. Lianne Dalziel
Lianne Dalziel served for 23 years in the New Zealand Parliament, including as a cabinet minister in the fifth Labour Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Helen Clark.
During that time, Lianne held a number of portfolios, including Commerce, Immigration, Women’s Affairs & Associate Justice. She chaired the Commerce Select Committee from 2008-2011.
Having represented an electorate that was hard hit by the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, Lianne has become a respected champion of resilience with a strong understanding of post-disaster challenges and opportunities. This led her to be invited to serve on the Parliamentary Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction for the UNISDR (now the UNDRR).
Lianne was elected Mayor of Christchurch in 2013, and served three terms, having stepped down at the election in October 2022.
Christchurch faced a number of challenges during Lianne’s time as Mayor, including floods, fires and the devastating terrorist attack on the city’s mosques where 51 men, women and children were killed and many more were injured. The city’s response to this attack that sent a powerful message of compassion across the world.
Lianne has a degree in law from the University of Canterbury and is a frequent speaker on a range of issues including the importance of building community resilience, the role of leadership, and sharing lessons learned.
Our Global Steering Committee
The Global Steering Committee (GSC) has a clear mandate to set principles and policy that are directly driven by and responsive to the needs of the network’s member cities.
The GSC comprises of up to ten Chief Resilience Officers from across the five regions of our network:
- Africa (AFR)
- Asia-Pacific (APAC)
- Europe and the Middle East (EME)
- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
- North America (NAM)
Each region holds up to two seats in the GSC.
The GSC is co-chaired by two CROs representing different regions.
Dr. Folayinka Dania (GSC Co-Chair)
Dr Folayinka Dania is the Chief Resilience Officer for Lagos State and the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Resilience Office (LASRO). She coordinates the implementation of the Lagos Resilience Strategy in collaboration with other State Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with the goal of ensuring that the State continues to thrive, adapt and grow sustainably.
Beck Dawson is the Chief Resilience Officer for metropolitan Sydney, hosted by the City of Sydney Council as part of R-Cities. Known as “the person paid to worry for Sydney,” Beck champions urban resilience and systems thinking for cities. Since 2015, Beck has led the development and implementation of the Resilient Sydney Strategy, working with governments, business, and the community to build collaboration and investment for a stronger, more connected, and more resilient city.
Cristina is an architect with a bachelor’s degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Maryland. She has 13 years’ experience in project coordination in public policy, urban planning, and local development, both at the municipal and regional levels.
Genesis currently serves as Chief of Staff and Resilience Officer for the City of Dallas where she leads the implementation of the Resilient Dallas Strategy, broadband and digital equity efforts, and the coordination of special projects and other city-wide interdepartmental initiatives. In addition, she has oversight of the central operations and administrative affairs of the Mayor and City Council Office and the City’s Manager Office. Genesis holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration with a focus on management and operations from Washington State University; a Master’s in Public Administration and certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Washington; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy at the University of Texas in Arlington.
Kamlesh Yagnik has over three decades’ experience in business and consulting. His areas of interest include citywide surveillance, e-Governance, and energy management. As President of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he represented micro-, small, medium, and large enterprises working in flood-prone areas of South Gujarat, India. An Energy Engineer by training, with a degree from India’s leading technological institute IIT, Mumbai, Kamlesh is Director of two companies working in the areas of energy, climate change, and information technology.
Megan L. Sparks
Megan is a visionary leader with boundless energy for driving equitable growth and resilience among people, organizations, and communities. An architect of cross-sector movements, she thrives when bringing wild ideas to life in highly complex environments. Megan serves as the Senior Director of the Division of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships in the office of Atlanta Major Andre Dickens. In this role, Megan and her team to drive greater equity, resilience, and improved quality of life for Atlantas, especially in the most vulnerable and historically disinvested, by building strategic, innovative, multi-stakeholders initiatives. She works across Mayor Dickens’ team to develop creative public-private partnerships, and she serves as point-person for many of the city philanthropic and community partners. Megan co-created the Resilient Cities Network Racial Equity Community of Practice. In her free time, she loves painting, writing, storytelling, conversing, and playing with her family, friends, and dog she can find.
Moges Tadesse, PhD, is an academician, researcher and development practitioner. He served as a manager, coordinator, planner, integrator and resource mobilizer in NGOs. As an academician and researcher in higher institutions has trained graduate and post graduate students and undertaken a number of problem solving researches, and published significant articles. He also served as development practitioner at different tires in government institutions and currently working as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) in the City of Addis Ababa.
Verónica González has dedicated over 15 years to the development and implementation of public policy instruments in different cities in Mexico. She is currently the Director of Resilience Coordination in the Municipality of Ciudad Juárez, which gives continuity to the project financed by The Rockefeller Foundation in the framework of the 100RC initiative.
Ahmed K. AbuLaban
Ahmed holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from BirZeit University in Palestine. He was a fellow in the Humphrey International Fellowship Program through the US State Department at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 2004-2005. This prestigious program is built to accommodate mid-career professionals obtain further training and academic work in Public Administration.
Ahmed has extensive experience in local government policy, city management, project management, crisis management, sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities programs,. He has a serious commitment to continued personal and professional development by attending and participating in local, regional and international workshops and conferences. He also has a long history with volunteer work and social activism.
Guzmán Robaina (Montevideo): Member of the Executive Resilience Unit at the Secretary of Planning of the Government of Montevideo. He oversees the design, development, and implementation of the City Resilience Strategy and the Integral Risk Management Strategy of Montevideo (2020-2024). He holds a degree in International Relations
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