Innovation at Work

Jennifer Watson Roberts

Keynote Speaker

Jennifer Watson Roberts is a former Mayor of Charlotte and a lifelong champion of issues related to education and equality. She is the first person to be elected to serve as both Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Commission and later as Mayor of Charlotte. She currently is the Director of the Communities Program at ecoAmerica, a national non-profit organization that seeks to build institutional leadership, public support and political will for climate solutions.

Roberts has been an active innovator across sectors. She was instrumental in creating a public/private partnership to build a new shelter in Charlotte for survivors of domestic violence, and she spearheaded the creation of Charlotte NEXT, an initiative dedicated to improving after-school programs for at-risk teens. During her tenure as Mayor, the City of Charlotte set a goal of funding 5,000 affordable housing units over 3 years and is currently on track to exceed that goal.