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How Behavioral Science is Helping to Advance Systemic Change in Cities and in the Justice System

How Behavioral Science is Helping to Advance Systemic Change in Cities and in the Justice System

On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, Meeting of the Minds hosted a free, live webinar featuring a conversation with two US-based practitioners who are leading systems-level change initiatives—one in the justice system, and the other across an entire city—aimed at undoing systemic racism. Sharing their inspiring approach, characterizing their day-to-day work, and relating their fresh perspectives on this webinar will be Erika Anthony, recent former VP of Government Relations & Strategy with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and Alexander Shermansong, founder and principal of Civic Consulting USA.


Erika and Alexander will each share examples of how their teams are doing this work to advance incremental change: re-framing critical questions; shifting long-held default procedures and assumptions; normalizing the development and use of a racial equity lexicon; engaging a variety of stakeholders in characterizing racial inequities that exist in each system; developing and prototyping solutions to those challenges; and more. During the conversation, our moderator will also guide both practitioners through an examination of their work through the lens of behavioral economics, an evolving and important field of practice that supports the advancement of change by 1) gaining insights about human behavior; 2) using those insights to develop a change strategy; and 3) implementing those strategies to change behaviors among actors in a system.

Over the past year, these and other change initiatives were studied as part of the Meeting of the Minds’ Behavior Change Project. The project was designed to glean important lessons and insights for practitioners working across a variety of disciplines to advance social change. Tune in to hear these bold and courageous practitioners give voice to the day-to-day work and challenges of driving systems-level change, and come away with tangible steps you can take to advance racial equity in your own sector.


Alexander Shermansong's Slides

Kate O'Brien's Slides


Erika Anthony

Erika Anthony

Executive Director, Ohio Transformation Fund

Erika Anthony is currently the Executive Director of Ohio Transformation Fund (OTF). OTF is a collaborative fund developed by national and local funders advocating for healthy communities and an equitable democracy across Ohio. Prior to OTF, she served as the Vice President of Government Relations and Strategy for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. In that role, she was responsible for leading and shaping the policy and advocacy agenda, as well as fostering the fund development, racial equity and inclusion and equitable civic engagement strategies. She has also co-founded Cleveland VOTES and Hack Cleveland.
Alexander Shermansong

Alexander Shermansong

CEO, Civic Consulting USA

Alexander founded Civic Consulting USA to bring innovative solutions to public problems. The approach has been recognized by Harvard University, selected as a strategic partner by the White House, and engaged by global cities from New York to San Francisco and global companies from McDonalds and Allstate to Google and Salesforce. Alexander has managed mayor and governor transitions and even developed “Stanley” the world’s first museum guide for handheld computers.

Guest Moderator

Kate O'Brien

Kate O'Brien

Senior Writer, Meeting of the Minds

Kate O’Brien writes the Global Mobility Research article series and Behavior Change article series for Meeting of the Minds.

When not interviewing and writing about the work of mobility researchers and behavior change agents around the world, Kate leads a collaborative consulting practice focused on coaching, capacity building, and facilitation for teams navigating and driving change.

Kate holds a BA in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College, and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. She lives and works in Portland, Maine.


January 29, 2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Meeting of the Minds
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