Paul Nelson is a Founding Principal at Resilient Cities Catalyst, where he leads the organization’s engagements with cross-sectoral partners working collaboratively to source innovations and co-create new solutions to their most pressing challenges.
He brings more than 15 years of experience building networks to achieve transformative impact at the city, national and global scales. His background in municipal government and nonprofit organizations is steeped in urban economic, workforce and community development policy. He is an experienced facilitator and trainer adept at bringing together unlikely actors to build more cohesive and resilient communities.
Prior to joining RCC, Paul led 100 Resilient Cities’ (100RC) network-building strategy fostering connection, community and knowledge-sharing among the urban practitioners in 100RC member cities around the world. In this role, he catalyzed global learning and solutions sharing cohorts focused on issues ranging from urban migration to racial equity, and he designed a resilience practitioner training program to support cities and partners in strategy and project implementation. He also led the organization’s impact measurement and knowledge management strategy to support program improvement and learning, as well as elevate 100RC’s impact globally.
Previously, Paul served as Assistant Commissioner at New York City’s Department of Small Business Services leading efforts to foster economic development and build community in commercial districts across the five boroughs. During his tenure, he managed the Agency’s portfolio of HUD-funded commercial revitalization investments and the City’s network of Business Improvement Districts, which leverage more than $100 million annually to support neighborhoods. In addition, he created a suite of training and leadership programs for a city-wide network of more than 100 community-based organizations. At YouthBuild USA, he led technical assistance provision to a national network of 210 DOL-funded programs in urban, rural and tribal communities serving 7,500 low-income, out-of-school young people each year.
Paul holds an MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and an MA from the University of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France, and he earned a BA from Brown University.