Alumna is San Francisco’s Interim Mayor

London Breed MPA ’13 grew up a mile from USF and says attending school here molded her leadership style

By ARVIN TEMKAR, USF NEWS Posted Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:29

London Breed MPA ’13 is San Francisco’s first African American woman mayor. 

Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, took the reins of the city as acting mayor upon the death of Mayor Ed Lee on Dec. 12. 

Breed was raised just a mile from USF, in a public housing project in the Western Addition neighborhood. She attended the university’s Master of Public Administration program, which trains students to lead in the public and nonprofit sectors. Other notable graduates include Yuba City Mayor Preet Didbal MPA ’12, who is the nation’s first Sikh woman mayor, and Anne Kronenberg MPA ’02, Harvey Milk’s campaign manager. 

A voice for the disenfranchised   

Breed was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2012, representing the Western Addition and other neighborhoods. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the nonprofit African American Art and Cultural Complex for 10 years. 

In a 2015 interview with USF Magazine, Breed said her biggest accomplishment on the board had been to shine a light on substandard public housing that suffered from problems like broken elevators and rundown units. 

She’s also secured $2 million to restore unused public housing units for homeless families, and passed zoning legislation to create more affordable homes, according to an op-ed she wrote in the San Francisco Examiner last year.

Breed credits USF with helping to shape her strengths as a leader. 

“USF teaches you to look deeper, not just from an intellectual standpoint, but into whether or not you are truly the kind of person that can be an effective leader,” she said in an interview with USF's  School of Management. “USF and the people I worked and studied with have supported me and continue to support me. It’s prepared me on an emotional and spiritual level from an ethical leadership standpoint.”

Editor's note: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on Jan. 23 to appoint Supervisor Mark Farrell as the city's new acting mayor until the June election, replacing Breed who heads the city's legislative branch as president of the board of supervisors.

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