Sam did a TEDX talk about the transformative process involved in business and government leaders working together to address tipping-point issues in cities. After the talk, his Harvard Business School professor challenged him to find more cities where CEOs achieved great public good while still overseeing their companies.
The CEO as Urban Statesman is now a book written by Sam A. Williams and published by Mercer University, now available on Amazon.com. Click here to purchase
Sam found over a dozen cities where business leaders have stepped up to the challenge of leading complex solutions through a political mine field. Sam's book, The CEO As Urban Statesman tells their stories and identifies the lessons learned by studying their experiences. Here are a few:
Atlanta started to think bigger and more globally after the 1996 Olympics, and Sam is the person who helped the city believe that it could actually do bigger things. His passion and first-hand knowledge of working with business, governmental and social trailblazers across the country truly resonated with the region. The CEO as Urban Statesman is a unique look at his experiences and a lesson for CEOs and political leaders who want to shape a new focus for our communities and our country.
—John Brock, Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises
Sam Williams, my friend and long-time Atlanta business leader, recognizes that cities are the economic engines that create the wealth of nations. His book is a call to action and a manual for a new kind of civic engagement by business executives as urban statesmen. Williams is uniquely qualified to tell the inside story of the “Atlanta Way.” As a business leader with decades of experience working in a diverse community he galvanized stakeholders into action to solve important challenges facing the city. The book is filled with practical advice for those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and make public private partnerships work to get things done in our cities.
Andrew Young, Former Mayor, Atlanta
Sam Williams’ excellent book reminds us that there are many American business leaders who also are splendid community leaders. Those exceptional executives place the importance of strong civic leadership alongside the importance of achieving strong growth, solid profitability, and excellent return to their shareholders.
Former Chief Executive, CNN and Los Angeles Times
This book captures the essence of what it will take to solve today's – and tomorrow's – significant urban challenges: a well-coordinated public and private effort, including the best "human capital" and every ounce of leadership that goes with it.
—John G. Rice, Vice Chairman GE
In cities across America, business leaders are rolling up their sleeves and putting their business skills to work-- solving problems, expanding opportunities, and improving the quality of life for millions of their fellow citizens.
Sam Williams is the ideal business leader to tell this encouraging story because he has lived it himself. During his many years of hands-on work and leadership, Atlanta has emerged as one of the nation's most vibrant urban centers--due in no small measure to the public and private sector cooperation spearheaded by Sam and the business community he has ably represented.
—Thomas J. Donohue, President & CEO U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Cities and metropolitan areas in the United States are powerful because they are co-governed by networks of leaders from the political, philanthropic, civic, and business realms. Williams perfectly captures the special role that CEOs can play in helping communities address their multi-faceted challenges. The CEO as Urban Statesman should be a well-thumbed handbook for “city-savvy" CEOs and their corporations.
—Bruce Katz, Founding Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
The CEO as Urban Statesman shows that private sector leadership of our metropolitan areas is reviving, prospering and crucial. This book shows how "private/public partnerships", where the private sector leads in partnership with the public, is crucial for social change. In a time when the Federal and increasingly state governments are falling prey to partisan warfare and dysfunction, here is a way of changing our communities that works...all it takes is the intention and leaders cut from the same cloth as Sam Williams.
—Christopher B. Leinberger, Chair of the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis
A much-needed clarion call to our nation’s CEOs to think not just like Chief Executive Officers but also like City Entrepreneurial Officers.
—Lee Fisher, President, CEOs for Cities
John G. Rice
Thomas J. Donohue
Christopher B. Leinberger
CEO Ray Ackerman and part-time mayor Ron Norick convinced the public to approve funding for a major redevelopment of the city’s downtown. A drainage canal was turned into a rowing venue, spawning an entertainment district for young professionals and is now a major tourist attraction.
CEOs Pete Correll, Tom Bell, and Michael Russell led a successful effort to rescue Atlanta’s safety-net Grady Hospital from impending financial collapse. They restructured its governance, and with their incredible turnaround, Grady has raised $350 million to become a stellar success.
John Turner, a Columbus, Georgia executive, worked for 14 years to create the longest urban whitewater course in the world on a stretch of the Chattahoochee River that runs through downtown Columbus. Columbus State University now has a downtown campus and the area is an Innovation District that draws highly educated young professionals.
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike in Houston, former astronaut and African-American entrepreneur Mae Jemison was asked by governor Perry to lead a multi-jurisdictional task force to examine better ways of responding to natural disasters. Many of these recommendations are now in practice to alleviate future crises.
Salt Lake City was much in need of an extensive transit and highway system. To meet this challenge, Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson headed a coalition of business executives, including Chamber CEO Lane Beattie, to lead a successful sales tax referendum. This enabled the city to move the plan's implementation up by 15 years.
© 2014 Business City Partnerships All rights reserved. Website by Jude Lindquist, Working Design