Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
President and CEO
Jessica Walker is President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, an organization that represents and supports businesses across the borough of Manhattan -- New York City'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 2020 she was included on City & State's "Manhattan Power 50" list, which ranks the most influential community leaders in the borough. She was also included on their 2020 "Power of Diversity: Black 100" list, which ranks the most powerful Black individuals in New York State politics.
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 and Pursuit Lending, a community development financial institution. She is an appointed member of Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council for New York City and Mayor de Blasio's Small Business Sector Advisory Council to help restart the local economy in the wake of Covid-19.
Jessica was born in Detroit, raised on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, attended Princeton University and is now a proud resident of Harlem.