Our Leadership Team

Thriving Cities Group aims to embody its understanding that communities thrive when they learn to live well across difference. As such, our team is comprised of researchers, software engineers, urban planners, sociologists, writers, and a wide variety of others who contribute to our common thriving through their own unique skills, background insight, and experience.


Josh Yates, President & CEO

Josh founded the Thriving Cities Group out of research performed at the University of Virginia, where he continues to serve as Research Assistant Professor of Sociology. At the University of Virginia, Josh also serves as Director of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change and the Thriving Cities Project at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Josh holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Sociology, from the University of Virginia. Josh has written and lectured extensively on civic design. Email Josh at jyates@thrivingcitiesgroup.com.


Charlie Henderson, Chief Technology Officer

In 2016 Charlie was named "Trending 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40" by DCA Live in Washington D.C. and was selected to Mindshare Class of 2015. Charlie has been granted 7 patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office on graph data. Charlie has consulted to publicly-traded market leaders in finance and retail on data architecture and engineering. Email Charlie at chenderson@thrivingcitiesgroup.com.

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Justin Straight, Chief Operating Officer

In 2017 Justin co-founder LoanWell.com, an End-to-End platform for Lenders with Intake, Origination, Underwriting, Closing, Servicing, & Reporting all in one platform. Justin has also served as Regional Director of private sector microfinance banks in Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Peru and Dominican Republic and as CFO for a Virginia-based commercial contracting business that he helped expand to 3 states and the District of Columbia. Email Justin at jstraight@thrivingcitiesgroup.com.