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Global Voices, Local Action (Public Health & Safety): Speaker Information

Tommi Laitio
Bloomberg Public Innovation Fellow, Helsinki

Tommi Laitio is the inaugural Bloomberg Public Innovation Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. The fellowship is an opportunity for experienced public sector leaders to take two years to reflect on their work and develop new knowledge. Next to speaking and writing on his experience in Helsinki, he carries out new research on how cities build partnerships for parks and public libraries. 

Tommi Laitio brings a decade of senior city leadership experience to the fellowship. He joined the City of Helsinki as Director of Youth Affairs and was later elected as the first Executive Director of Culture and Leisure – acting as a member of the mayor’s executive team with an overall responsibility for culture, sports, library and youth services. He led the merger of seven departments into one the design of the city’s resident engagement practice. During his leadership, the department delivered 20 million annual resident experiences with a team of 1800 professionals and a budget of 270M€. Before joining the government, he worked for a think tank, ran a video festival and worked as a newspaper journalist. Laitio holds an MA in Political Science from University of Helsinki and an EMBA from Aalto University.

Tiffany McDowell, PhD,
Equity Institute Director, YWCA
Tiffany McDowell, PhD is a community psychologist and thought leader committed to identifying and eliminating systems that push people to the margins of society. She understands the multiple ways that our current structures create barriers to wellness. Tiffany serves as Director of the Equity Institute at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, and is co-founder of the Chicagoland Equity Network, where she convened a diverse membership to advance a common equity agenda across Cook County. Tiffany’s passion for social justice and equity drives her approach to ensuring that all voices are valued. Much of her work is focused on building capacity of organizations, community residents, and other stakeholders to develop strategies and action plans toward equity and inclusion.
Tiffany holds a PhD from The Ohio State University in Human Development and Family Science, specializing in couple and family therapy. She received a MS in Child and Family Studies from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and a BS in Psychology from Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Kate McMahon, MPH
Director, Health Equity in All Policies, Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago

Kate McMahon is an advocate for social justice and health equity in all policies. At the Chicago Department of Public Health, she works with community organizations and government agencies to center health equity in decision making across policy areas and sectors. Kate is a fellow with Health Equity Awakened, a national leadership institute for public health leaders advancing health equity and racial justice, and Chicago United for Equity, a community of racial justice advocates committed to shifting power back to the people who love this city. She is pursuing a Doctor of Public Health leadership degree at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health and is a graduate of DePaul University’s Master of Public Health program.

Amanda O’Rourke
Executive Director, 880 cities, Toronto

Amanda O’Rourke is the Executive Director of 8 80 Cities, a non profit organization with a mission to ignite action to create healthier, more equitable, and sustainable cities. She has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector leading strategic planning, partnership development, and managing high impact teams. She has led diverse equitable mobility and public space projects in cities and towns in North America, Europe, and Australia. She enjoys working collaboratively with city governments and community partners to make it easier for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to walk, bike, take transit, and build social connection and sense of belonging in public spaces.  Amanda holds a Master of Science in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from Queen’s University. She is also the Co-Chair of the Children Play and Nature Committee for World Urban Parks, and full-time mom to three energetic kids.