October 7, 2011
Shirley Franklin was elected the first African-American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two terms until 2009. She became known for tackling major government operations and ethics reform, developing successful public and private sector partnerships, launching the Atlanta Beltline, forming the Regional Commission on Homelessness, and securing $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements. Upon leaving office, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served in this capacity until June 2010. She currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Purpose Built Communities and as president of Clarke-Franklin and Associates Inc. Aside from her role as a public official, her community service spans more than 39 years in Atlanta and includes her active participation in the arts, homelessness and higher education for disadvantaged youth.