top of page

Emily Yates

Chief Innovation Officer


Emily Yates is a strategic leader who has worked to position cities as globally competitive by utilizing a systems approach to develop strategies, projects and programs that innovate at the intersection of sustainability, technology, and economic development.

As Chief Innovation Officer for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Emily leads the Office of Innovation (OOI), which focuses on driving innovation initiatives through internal and external partnerships and collaboration. In addition to growing a culture of innovation, OOI works to incorporate sustainability principles and data-driven decision making into all aspects of SEPTA’s efforts to become a lifestyle transit network.

Prior to this role as Smart City Director for the City of Philadelphia, Emily managed and led implementation of the SmartCityPHL Roadmap, leveraging public-private-plus (universities and utilities) partnerships to ensure that smart and emerging technology solutions to municipal challenges improved the quality of life for all residents, businesses, and visitors, and enabled efficient delivery of City services.

She has held a variety of positions in Europe and North America, including urban planning positions with both the District of Columbia and the City of Cleveland. Emily was a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor/ Bundeskanzler Fellowship, which funded a year of research focused on German approaches to the implementation of sustainability policy and climate change adaptation in brownfield development. Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University. She is a member of the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (ELEEP) Network.

bottom of page