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Boston University
Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities

Katharine Lusk is the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities at Boston University where she spearheads new university-wide programs and research, including the Menino Survey of Mayors, student government fellowships, original urban scholarship and multi-stakeholder conferences. She also serves as Senior Personnel to the NSF-funded Smart City Cloud Platform project directed by the Hariri Institute and on the Advisory Board of the BU Urban Affairs and City Planning program.

Katharine was a policy advisor to former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, where she led his work to make Boston the first city in the country to achieve pay equity for women. In addition to creating the Mayor’s Women’s Workforce Council, she authored, “Boston: Closing the Wage Gap,” identifying evidence-based interventions employers can take to close the gender wage gap. An enthusiastic civic entrepreneur, Katharine launched a new capital fund for child care providers, a platform for women small business owners, Women on Main, and the nation’s first mobile City Hall, City Hall to Go.

In 2014, she served as an advisor to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Successful Women, Successful Families Task Force. Prior to entering public service, Katharine worked as a brand strategist and researcher for Fortune 500 companies. She was most recently the VP/Director of Branding with McCann Erickson, the global advertising agency.

She received a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was the recipient of the Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership and the Manuel Carballo Award for her graduate thesis modeling state-run paid family leave for Massachusetts. She earned her BA from Williams College.

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Why I’m an Unabashed Fan of America’s Mayors

March 7, 2017

Next City By Katharine Lusk, Initiative on Cities “Lobbyists aside, spending quality time with elected officials is not high on anyone’s priority list these days…” View full article

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Urban nation: What’s at stake for cities in the 2016 elections

November 2, 2016

The Conversation By Graham Wilson & Katharine Lusk, College of Arts & Sciences, Initiative on Cities “Cities are America’s economic engines…” View full article

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Lessons From a Former Mayor in One Accessible Collection

November 10, 2015

NextCity Katharine Lusk, Initiative on Cities During two decades as mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino obviously learned a few things about the job he held… Expert quote: “He always used to tell us, that the things young people want are the same things old people want.” View full article

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Why mayors are looking for ideas outside the city limits

October 30, 2015

The Conversation US By Katharine Lusk, Initiative on Cities When our dear colleague and cofounder of the Initiative on Cities program at Boston University, former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, passed away one year ago, letters poured in to our offices at Boston University… View full article by expert Katharine Lusk

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The C-Title That Cities Need: Chief Research Officer

September 26, 2015

Governing By Katharine Lusk, Initiative on Cities In  the search for effective evidenced-based government, it’s important to have somebody to connect the dots… View full article by expert Katharine Lusk

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