Vanguard: A Look At Seven of Last Year’s Influential Leaders

Profiles of seven urban leaders from Next City’s 2013 Vanguard conference.

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There are five days left until the deadline for applications to this year’s Vanguard conference. Each year, Next City assembles a group of 40 urban leaders, all under 40 years old, to meet and share ideas for how to make their cities better. In 2014, we will head to Chattanooga, Tenn. with our new crop of Vanguards — these could be anyone from city workers to non-profit advocates to artists, and will come from all over the country — in tow. And there are plenty of reasons why you may want to be among them.

To give you an idea of what’s in store, check out this spotlight of seven of last year’s Vanguards.

Monica Campana was instrumental in founding Living Walls: The City Speaks, a non-profit that uses street art to educate communities about the role of public space. In the past few years, Living Walls has employed an eclectic group of artists to create a number of murals across Atlanta. Take a look at the non-profit’s collection here.

Phanat Xanamane

Phanat Xanamane, as creative director of the non-profit Envision da Berry, works to build cross-sector alliances to spur economic growth in Iberia Parish, La. Envision da Berry’s range of projects is far-reaching, from sponsoring plays (such as an upcoming production of A Raisin in the Sun) to providing support to local food co-ops.

Jessy Kate Schingler founded Embassy Network to develop innovative approaches to community housing for creatives and urban nomads. Her organization now has co-living spaces all over the globe, from San Francisco to Tokyo to Antigua.

Jules Flynn had his work cut out for him after Hurricane Sandy. As chief recovery and resiliency officer in the Department of Subways at New York City Transit, he has been instrumental in helping the city bounce back from the devastating storm.

Megan Dickerson

Megan Dickerson, after spending 10 years at the Boston Children’s Museum, returned to her home state to serve as manager of exhibition development for the New Children’s Museum in San Diego. Dickerson leads the exhibitions team to develop the next generation of programming for children and families. Through play(space), the umbrella for her independent projects, she is also known for creating innovative public art projects.

Nicholas Hamilton is working to transform cities at home and abroad through his work both with the American Assembly’s national legacy cities network and Cairo From Below, an international design collaborative. In 2011, the American Assembly published a noteworthy set of policy and regulatory suggestions to help rejuvenate ailing cities.

Wesley Bayas is the New Orleans director of Stand for Children. Bayas played a key role in securing an additional $5 million for New Orleans school leaders to invest in teachers and dropout prevention programs. He also provided support for legislation mandating more rigorous standards for teacher tenure.

Of course, the list of noteworthy Vanguards doesn’t end here. Check out this page to see the 40 urban changemakers of last year’s class.

Applications for the 2014 conference in Chattanooga are due this Friday at 6:00pm PST. To throw your hat in the ring, visit the Vanguard page here.

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Tags: next city vanguard

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