Shirley Clarke Franklin


Shirley C. Franklin is currently Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Purpose Built Communities and former Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. She was elected the first African American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two-terms as mayor of Atlanta, Georgia until 2009. The mayor is term limited in Atlanta. Upon leaving office, she was appointed to an Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served until June 2011.  

During her eight years, the city experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing policy challenges, which included urban planning, economic development and infrastructure. She is best known for advocating for and 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, her community service spans nearly 40 years in Atlanta and includes her active participation in the arts, homelessness and higher education. 

She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Mueller Water Products and her civic engagement includes her service as Chairman of the board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and as a board member of the Volcker Alliance and the CDC Foundation (Centers for Disease Prevention and Health Prevention).  She is a former member of the Delta Airlines Board of Directors.

Franklin co chaired the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and the DNC Platform Committee for the 2016 Convention.  During her mayoral term she was an active member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Franklin is a frequent speaker and subject matter expert on leadership, public policy and community engagement having served over three decades as an executive in government and business. She counts Ambassador Andrew Young and former mayor Maynard Jackson among her most important professional mentors having served as an executive in their mayoral administrations.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, educated at Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin has lived with her family in Atlanta since 1972.