The Senior Leadership Fellows Program provides a bridge from the world of decision-making to the world of academia.

This program offers a unique opportunity for those who have recently served in high-level positions in government, multilateral institutions, nonprofit organizations, and journalism to spend time at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to share reflections of their own career and leadership expertise with the next generation of world leaders.

Senior Leadership Fellows mentor students who aspire to similar roles and collaborate with renowned academic colleagues, exploring important issues pertaining to strategic decision-making and leadership development in public health.

Senior Leadership Fellows

Fall 1, 2023: Lori Lightfoot, former Mayor of Chicago

Lori Lightfoot served as the 56th mayor of Chicago, making history as the city’s first African American female mayor. During her term as mayor, which ended May 15, 2023, Lightfoot led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to safeguard public health and minimize economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other steps, she created a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team and the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

Chicago’s first Black woman and first openly gay mayor, Lightfoot also focused on generating inclusive economic growth across the city’s neighborhoods. Her accomplishments included landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and key investments in education, public safety, and financial stability. In August of 2021, Lightfoot secured a $15 minimum wage for most workers in Chicago, including domestic workers, years ahead of the state’s planned phase-in of a living wage.

Before taking office as mayor, Lightfoot held several other leadership roles in city government and served as a federal prosecutor.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot Thank You Message

Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently completed a successful fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, during the Fall 1 term, where she led a course called “Operationalizing Equity in the Delivery of Public Health in a Terrain Fraught with Challenges.” This course delved into the complexities of providing equitable public health services amidst skepticism and numerous obstacles. She took her students behind the curtain and exposed them to myriad challenges of real-world public health leadership.

Throughout her fellowship, Mayor Lightfoot engaged with numerous Harvard Chan students and faculty.  The mayor also engaged with student groups and affiliates from other Harvard Schools, including Harvard College, The Harvard Kennedy School, and The Harvard Graduate School of Design. Mayor Lightfoot exemplified what the Menschel Fellowship is designed for. We are grateful for her service to the Chan School and indeed, the university.  In this video, Mayor Lightfoot expresses her gratitude to the Harvard community for the enriching experience.

Recent Fellows

Recent Menschel Senior Leadership fellows: former Boston Mayor Kim Janey, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Costa Rican Ambassador Roman Macaya.

List of Past Fellows

The Menschel Senior Leadership fellows Program kicked off in 2012 and welcomed a list of distinguished leaders from the U.S. and all around the world. View list of all past fellows of the program

Student Resources - Get Involved

Senior Leadership Fellows spend time teaching and mentoring students. They offer guidance and personal stories exploring leadership challenges in public health.