Shirley Franklin was elected the first African American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two-terms as Mayor of Atlanta until 2009. The mayor is term limited in Atlanta. Currently she serves as Executive Chairman of Purpose Built Communities, a non-profit consulting firm that works side-by-side with local leaders to plan and implement a holistic neighborhood revitalization effort.
She currently serves as President of Clarke-Franklin and Associates, Inc. She co- chairs the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta's Regional Commission on Homelessness, serves as the Chair of the National Center of Civil and Human Rights and serves on the board of the Volcker Alliance and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta. Additionally, Franklin serves on the Board of Directors of Mueller Water Products and Delta Air Lines.
From 2013 to 2016 Franklin served as the inaugural Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin and from 2010 to 2012 she served as visiting professor in Political Science at Spelman College.
During her eight years as Mayor, the city of Atlanta experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing urban 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 improvement, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, launching the Atlanta 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 over 40 years in Atlanta and includes her active participation in the arts, homelessness, higher education and politics.
Franklin is a frequent speaker and subject matter expert on ethical leadership, urban policy and community engagement having served over three decades as an executive in government and business.