Mayor Kasim Reed has announced the appointment of Stephanie Stuckey Benfield as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a new position created to lead to help Atlanta prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from the ‘shocks’ – catastrophic events like hurricanes, fires, and floods – and ‘stresses’ – slow-moving disasters like water shortages, homelessness, and unemployment.

As Chief Resilience Officer, Benfield will oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for the city.

Earlier this year, the City of Atlanta was chosen as one of the 100 Resilient Cities from more than 325 applicants, spanning more than 90 countries across six continents, and was selected on the basis of the city’s willingness, ability, and need to become resilient in the face of future challenges.

“Stephanie Stuckey Benfield is uniquely positioned and qualified to serve as our Chief Resilience Officer and I am confident that she is best person to establish a resilience vision and plan for our City,” said Mayor Reed in a media statement. “Since joining the City, Stephanie has lead and implemented programs and initiatives which have elevated the City of Atlanta as a global leader in sustainability. Stephanie was also instrumental in securing our position as a 100 Resilient Cities member. Under her leadership and engagement with stakeholders, experts and 100 RC staff, the City of Atlanta is poised to take the next step in its resilience planning.”

Appointing a CRO is an essential element of the city’s resilience building partnership with 100 Resilient Cities created by The Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) organization is part of a $164 million commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. The city’s engagement with 100 Resilient Cities kicked off in September with a “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop.” The position will be fully funded by 100RC.

Prior to joining the city, Benfield served as a State Representative for 14 years, during which time she was a member of the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees. She also serves on the Boards for the Green Chamber of the South, the Olmsted Linear Parks Alliance and Earthshare of Georgia, and is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Class of 2013. Benfield currently serves as the Director of Sustainability. In her new role, Benfield will continue to assist with the management, implementation and development of existing sustainability projects including the Proctor Creek Greenway Trail. Reed will appoint a new Sustainability Director who will report to the Chief Resilience Officer.

“Cities are where resilience is put into action. Thanks to Mayor Reed’s leadership, Atlanta is broadening our efforts beyond sustainability to tackle the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century,” Benfield said. “As Chief Resilience Officer, I’ll be working to unite people, projects, and priorities to drive action on the critical stresses and shocks our City faces, such as aging infrastructure, economic opportunity, food scarcity and transportation. I’m excited about this new opportunity and am ready to get to work.”


Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.