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Ex-Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets new gig as 'leadership' teacher and mentor at Harvard

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

One-term Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has once again found her way into a leadership position, as Harvard recently announced that the politician will become a faculty member for the fall 2023 semester.

The 60-year-old Lightfoot recently lost a re-election bid for mayor of Chicago and became the first mayor to fail to secure a second term in the city in 40 years, according to the Daily Mail. However, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health was happy to announce on June 1, 2023, that Lightfoot will join its Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development department to teach "Health Policy and Leadership."

The lawyer turned politician will take part in the Senior Leadership Fellows Program, which will have her mentoring "students who aspire to similar roles," as well as "collaborate with renowned academic colleagues, exploring important issues pertaining to strategic decision-making and leadership development in public health."

This isn't the ex-mayor's first foray into teaching, however. Lightfoot taught courses on trial advocacy at the University of Chicago as well as Northwestern.

"I've always loved teaching, and the opportunity to get back to it is something I am excited about," Lightfoot said on her Twitter page. "Looking forward to sharing the experiences and perceptions I learned governing through one of the most challenging times in American history with the @HarvardChanSPH community!" she added.

Dean Michelle Williams said Lightfoot was known for "strong leadership in advocating for health, equity, and dignity for every resident of Chicago." The dean also praised Lightfoot's "declaration of structural racism as a public health crisis" and her "innovative initiative to bring mental health services to libraries and shelters."

The school listed more praise of Lightfoot on its website, but was short on actual significant policies to boast about. "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," her biography reads. "She created a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team and the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force," it continued.

The description also touted Lightfoot as "Chicago’s first Black woman and first openly gay mayor."

Senior leadership fellows generally teach a half-semester course at the school, the program says, and often address "a wide variety of leadership challenges in areas such as politics and public health, health equity, policy implementation, poverty and access to healthcare, community health, universal health coverage, and beyond."

Past fellows at the Harvard school have included former Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, former Governor of Vermont Peter Shumlin, and former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

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