Our Leadership Team

Deb Socia

Deb Socia

Executive Director

@dsocia

Prior to her role as the Executive Director of Next Century Cities, Deb was the Executive Director of the Tech Goes Home program whose mission is to ensure digital equity. Previously, Deb spent 32 years as an educator and administrator. She was the founding principal of the award winning Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Boston Public School where she led the one-to-one laptop initiative. Deb has been the recipient of many awards for her work, including recognition as the NATOA Community Broadband Hero in 2013, the 2013 Pathfinder Award from MassCUE (Mass Computer Using Educators), and the 2010 Leadership and Vision award from CRSTE (Capitol Region Society for Technology in Education).

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Policy Director

@communitynets

In addition to his role at Next Century Cities Chris serves as the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis. Chris is a leading national expert on community networks and speaks at conferences across the United States on telecommunications policy. He runs the online clearinghouse of information about community broadband, MuniNetworks.org. In 2011, Chis released the Community Broadband Map, a comprehensive map of community owned networks. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. That same year, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named ILSR the Broadband Organization of the Year.

Cat Blake

Cat Blake

Policy and Program Manager

@cat_hannah_b

Previously, Cat worked in public relations and social media management roles, in which she served clients ranging from oyster bars to music festivals. Cat also served as a Summer Fellow with Next Century Cities, where she supported event planning and research efforts. Cat received her B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. 

Our Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is comprised of eight mayors from member communities across the country. The Board offers valuable guidance on issues relating to Next Century Cities policies.