Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
President and CEO
Jessica Walker is President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, an organization that is the convener, voice and advocate of the 120,000+ businesses across the borough of Manhattan, which is New York’s economic center.
She is a community leader and public policy expert with a proven track record of success advocating for New York City residents, neighborhoods and businesses. Her work has made an indelible imprint on the city that she loves. In 2023 she was included on City & State's "Manhattan Power 100" list. She was also included on the "Notable Black Leaders" list issued by Crain's New York Business in 2022.
Before joining the Chamber, Jessica was Vice President for Government Affairs at the Partnership for New York City, an organization that represents the city’s major corporate employers. She served as the chief liaison between elected officials and the city’s business leaders; and as a policy analyst, strategic advisor and writer for the organization's influential CEO. The objective was to strengthen New York City's economy and create jobs in the wake of the Great Recession.
Prior to that, Jessica was a leading advocate for elderly New Yorkers. At the New York Academy of Medicine she oversaw the launch of Age-friendly New York City, a public-private initiative designed to make the city a better place in which to grow old. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg implemented 59 policy improvements based on this work, such as lengthening the time allotted for pedestrians to cross street intersections.
Jessica also served as a policy analyst at United Neighborhood Houses, the association of community centers and settlement houses throughout New York. There, she led the organization's advocacy agenda on issues relating to older adults. Jessica was chief architect of a pilot project that increased utilization of geriatric mental health services by delivering them in non-clinical, community-based settings. She also authored a groundbreaking report that exposed the high numbers of New York seniors aging completely alone and "at risk" of serious health and safety problems. Subsequently the issue of social isolation became a national priority of the AARP Foundation.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of United Neighborhood Houses, an association of community centers and settlement houses throughout New York; the Five Borough Institute, a public policy think-tank; and, Pursuit Lending, a community development financial institution (CDFI).
Current/recent governmental appointments and advisory roles include:
- Mayor Eric Adam's mayoral transition committee for economic and workforce development
- Governor Hochul's Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) for New York City
- Governor's local planning committee for the Chinatown "Downtown Revitalization Initiative"
- Co-chair, Governor's local planning committee for the East Harlem "Downtown Revitalization Initiative"
- Community advisory committee for World Trade Center (WTC) site 5
- Community advisory committee to modernize the Penn Station area
- "New" New York blue-ribbon panel created by Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul to reimagine the city post-COVID
- Mayor Adam's Commercial Corridor Recovery Task Force
- Manhattan District Attorney's Small Business Advisory Committee
Jessica was born in Detroit, raised on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, attended Princeton University and is now a proud resident of Harlem.