Leadership Team

Doug Linkhart
Doug LinkhartPresident
Hometown: Norman, OK
Doug Linkhart has over 40 years of experience in the public policy arena, including 18 years as an elected official, including eight years as a Denver City Councilman and ten years as a Colorado State Legislator. Doug started his career by managing local campaigns, then worked for a federal agency as a Presidential Management Intern. He later ran his own consulting business, spending his free time as a newspaper columnist and neighborhood and political activist. founded a nonprofit organization to serve neighborhood associations and their residents, which he directed for ten years. After running for the Mayor of Denver in 2011, he was appointed by the winning candidate as the Executive Director of Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, a 300-person agency which he managed for four years. Doug is the proud author of many pieces of state and local legislation and gives frequent public presentations.
Carla Kimbrough
Carla KimbroughProgram Director: Racial Equity
Hometown: (None – I was an Air Force brat)
Carla J. Kimbrough enjoyed a career as a reporter, editor and senior manager at newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado. Prior to joining NCL, she taught a variety of journalism courses for several years at a university. She has expertise in public communications, media relations, recruiting, staff development, planning and facilitating executive retreats, diversity and inclusion practices. Carla earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. (hopefully, by August: She is a certified diversity professional).
Michael McGrath
Michael McGrathDirector, Research and Publications
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Snapshot bio: Award-winning writer and editor with expertise in local government, community building, political reform and urban policy.
Full bio: Mike McGrath edits the National Civic Review and other National Civic League publications. He also coordinates joint research projects with partner institutions and organizations. Before joining the National Civic League, he worked for 12 years as a journalist in California and Colorado, covering local government and environmental issues for newspapers, magazines and radio. He serves on the council of advisors of the national Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network. His Masters degree in journalism is from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
NCL envisions a country in which all people engage in the process of self-governance and encourages cross-sector partnerships resulting in an active civic culture reflecting the diversity of community voices.
The mission of the National Civic League is to advance civic engagement to create inclusive, thriving communities.
Originally known as the National Municipal League, the organization was founded during a period of social, political and economic turmoil. The date was 1894, and a group of leading municipal reformers had gathered in Philadelphia to discuss the future of city government. Among those founders were some of the leading thinkers and activists of the Progressive Era, a list that included Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Brandeis, Frederick Law Olmsted and Mary Mumford. Read More
Sarah Lipscomb
Sarah LipscombProgram Director: All-America City Award and Community Assistance
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Full bio: Sarah Lipscomb joined the National Civic League in 2013 and manages NCL’s flagship program, the All-America City Awards. She is an expert in facilitating resident-centered visioning and strategic planning processes for local governments. Sarah conducts workshops and speaking engagements on key civic engagement practices for association annual conferences and state municipal league conferences. Before joining the National Civic League, she was a fellow at the Bell Policy Center where she conducted focus groups around the cliff effect in assistance programs. She has Master’s degree from University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville School of Social Work.
Sue Lawson Gonzales
Sue Lawson GonzalesOffice and Communications Manager
Hometown: Billings, MT
Sue Lawson Gonzales manages National Civic League's business operations and supports external communications. She draws on over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and community engagement for nonprofits, as well as local and state governments. Over the last 35 years, Sue has worked in the fields of affordable housing, renewable energy & conservation and recycling & waste management. She has also served on local and national boards and task forces related to issues as diverse as arts education, water planning, superfund cleanups and community engagement certification.
Aaron Leavy
Aaron LeavyProgram Director: Sustainability & Civic Engagement
Hometown: Westerville, OH
For more than 15 years, Aaron Leavy has worked with organizations, individuals and institutions to better engage and learn from residents and take effective action in strengthening their community. Aaron develops community engagement materials, provide coaching and support to local engagement efforts and serves as part of National Civic League’s community consulting team.
Lilian Ndangam, PhD
Lilian Ndangam, PhDSenior Fellow
Prior to joining the National Civic League, Lilian worked as a program director for the African Canadian Social Development Council (ACSDC) - an umbrella organization for agencies serving the African Canadian community in Toronto from 2008 - 2012. During that time, she developed programs, oversaw the Council’s projects, strategic planning and worked with community organizations to address issues affecting immigrant communities in Toronto. Lilian has also worked as a researcher and consultant for the World Association for Christian Communication – an international social justice organization in Toronto, Canada where she helped coordinate and co-author the 2010 and 2015 report for the Global Media Monitoring Project which monitors gender portrayal in the media globally.
Joe Hoereth
Joe HoerethSenior Fellow
Joe Hoereth was appointed Director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in January 2009. IPCE creates opportunities for scholars, concerned citizens, students, and government to participate in public discourse and educational programs on current policy issues and social trends. As Director, he is responsible for the overall management of the Institute. Joe came to UIC in 2004 as the Associate Director of the Great Cities Institute (GCI), bringing a wide range of experience in community development research and evaluation, having previously worked for university research centers, non-profit organizations and private consulting firms. As an independent consult, he conducted research projects on housing and comprehensive community building.
Larry Schooler
Larry SchoolerSenior Fellow
Until May, 2017, Larry Schooler managed public engagement and alternative dispute resolution for the City of Austin, Texas. Larry now works as a mediator, facilitator, and public engagement consultant for outside clients through Public Participation Partners. He is a senior fellow at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas and has taught in the graduate dispute resolution program at Southern Methodist University. He has served as president of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2-USA); on the leadership council of the Association for Conflict Resolution Environment and Public Policy Section; and on the American Bar Association Public Policy, Consensus Building, and Democracy Committee.

About the League

Model City CharterFounded by Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Law Olmsted, Louis Brandeis and other leading municipal reformers in the late nineteenth century, the league has been instrumental in efforts to make local governments more open, accountable and effective.

Today, more than ever, the National Civic League is critical to vibrant communities and a strong democracy. NCL provides unique opportunities for people to transform themselves and their communities through the All-America City Awards, the Model City Charter, the Civic Index, National Civic Review, and research into leadership and community engagement in leading local government fiscal sustainability. NCL depends on groups and individuals across the country that believe in promoting community engagement and problem solving approaches to support this important work.

A 120-year old nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colorado, NCL’s mission is accomplished by fostering and sharing promising practices of local government and public engagement and celebrating the progress that can be achieved when people work together. Our core values are:

  • Public participation and civic action
  • Diversity and inclusiveness
  • Greater democracy and higher performing governments
  • Hope and the nurturing of successful communities

NCL works by forming strategic partnerships with local government organizations, nonprofit organizations, and others and by fully engaging those in the NCL family, particularly its members and the more than 500 AAC communities.

Board of Directors


Derek Okubo -  Executive Director Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, City and County of Denver, Colorado

Vice Chair

Hon. Kenneth Alexander - Mayor, City of Norfolk, VA


Valerie Lemmie - Director of Exploratory Research at the Kettering Foundation, Dayton, OH


Alberto Olivas  - Executive Director, Congressman Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service at Arizona State University, Pheonix, AZ


Doug Linkhart -  President of the National Civic League, Denver, Colorado


Additional Executive Committee Members:

Chair Finance Committee: Jim Cloar

Chair Program Committee: Ron Loveridge Chair

Nominating Committee: David Palmer

Past Board Chair: David Sander


James A. Cloar - Commissioner, Tampa Housing Authority, Tampa, FL

Hon. Brad Cole, Executive Director, Illinois Municipal League, Springfield, IL

Reyna Farrales, Deputy County Manager, County of San Mateo, CA, Redwood City, CA

Lee R. Feldman, City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dr. Jarvis A. Hall, Associate Professor, No. Carolina Central University, Durham, NC

Hon. Steve Hogan Mayor, City of Aurora, Aurora, CO

Hon Glenda Hood Former Mayor of Orlando, FL and Founding Partner, triSect, Orlando, FL

Hon. Ronald O. Loveridge Former Mayor of Riverside, CA and Director, UCR Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, Riverside, CA

Maureen McDonald Senior Director, Community Benefit & Relations Kaiser Permanente, Denver, CO

Terry Minger Former President and CEO, Piton Foundation, Boulder, CO

David G. Palmer Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Denver, CO

Angela N. Romans Co-Director, District and Systems Transformation Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, Providence, RI

Hon. David M. Sander, Ph.D. Mayor, City of Rancho Cordova, Rancho Cordova, CA

Anthony Santiago Senior Fellow, Program & Partnership Development Institute for Youth, Education and Families National League of Cities, Washington, DC

Cindy Steinhauser Assistant City Manager, City of Dubuque, IA, Dubuque, IA

Andy Taft President, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., Fort Worth, TX

Dr. Lyle Wray Executive Director Capital Region Council of Governments, Hartford, CT



Mayor Michael B. Hancock (’12-‘15)

Hon. Sandra Freedman (‘08-‘12)

Robert Rawson, Jr. (’04-‘07)

Dorothy S. Ridings (’01-‘04)

Dr. David Mathews (’00)

Hon. R. Scott Fosler (’98-‘00)

Hon. Bill Bradley (‘96-’98)

Hon. John Gardner (’94-’96)

Hon. George Latimer (‘93)

Hon. Henry G. Cisneros (‘89-’92)

Hon. William F. Winter (‘88-’89,’ 93)

Terrell Blodgett (‘87-’88)

Hon. William W. Scranton (‘70-’73)