The latest happenings at the Chamber and the broader business community.

Manhattan Chamber elects Michael W. Kempner Chairman of its Board of Directors

Friday, December 8, 2017

Manhattan Chamber elects Michael W. Kempner Chairman of its Board of Directors

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce today announced that it has elected Michael Kempner, founder and CEO of MWWPR, as Chairman of the Board.  Kempner will succeed Chairman Ken Biberaj, who will continue to serve as a member of the board.  


In making the selection, the Chamber looked for a candidate who could build upon the momentum of the past three years and would be dedicated to representing the voices of small and mid-sized businesses in Manhattan. Kempner, who has built and grown several small and mid-sized businesses in Manhattan including MWWPR, one of the largest independent public relations firms in the world, was an ideal fit for the next phase of the Chamber’s growth. Kempner spent a decade in politics before founding MWWPR in 1986, and becoming nationally-recognized for his authority on omni-channel marketing, reputation management and public affairs.


New York City has the highest concentration of small businesses in the state, with 98 percent reporting fewer than 500 employees. In fact, it is home to more than 207,000 microbusinesses (20 or fewer workers) employing 646,563 people. Within the broader New York City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), small businesses employ 1,496,310 workers—or about 20 percent of employment in the MSA. A community of this size and importance is vital to the health of Manhattan’s economy.


“Having founded and grown several small and mid-sized business in Manhattan, I have seen first-hand the opportunities and complications of competing in a rapidly changing marketplace. While large corporations receive the majority of the spotlight, it is still small business that is the heart of the Manhattan economy.  By joining with the Chamber’s outstanding board of directors and membership of super connectors and thought leaders, the Chamber can be a leading voice in determining the future of New York City,” said Kempner. “The importance of being active business citizens dedicated to representing the true needs of small and mid-size businesses in Manhattan cannot be understated.”


“I am fortunate to be following in the shoes of a friend and remarkable leader. In his three years as Chairman of the Chamber, Ken Biberaj has brought creativity, passion, intellect and a renewed energy to the MCC.  Working with President, Jessica Walker, the Chamber is becoming a dominant player in the NYC business landscape.  On the foundation of their critical Commercial Rent Tax victory, the Chamber has momentum to continue to lead on critical business policy issues.”


With an eye towards the future of these businesses, key priorities for 2018 are further increasing connections and opportunities for members; building skillsets that help SMBs compete better in the new economy and advocating aggressively for policies that foster growth while mitigating those that do not. Through ongoing advocacy, elevated programming and events and a deeper engagement of sponsors, the Chamber will work toward a modernized vision that results in increased connectivity and impact within the business community. 


"Michael's background as a successful entrepreneur will be a major asset for our organization and the emerging businesses we are trying to help," said Walker, the Chamber's President and CEO. "I'm so excited to have him on board and look forward to accomplishing great things together for New York."

Both Kempner and his agency have been the recipients of some the industry’s highest accolades, including being a two time-winner of PR Week’s PR Professional of the Year, multiple PR Agency of the Year awards, and the International Communications Consultancy Organization’s Independent Consultancy of the Year. In addition to strategizing for some of the world’s biggest brands, Kempner is the former Deputy Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee and was nominated by President Obama and approved by the U.S. Senate to serve as a Governor of the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees all U.S. media properties. Giving back to the community is important to Kempner, and in this capacity, he donates his time to several nonprofits, including serving on the board of the New York City Coalition for the Homeless.


“I can think of no better person to take the reins and continue to elevate this important organization and the work it does on behalf our members and the borough of Manhattan,” explains Biberaj. “I look forward to continuing to support Michael and the rest of the Chamber team as they grow and advocate for the businesses that make New York City so unique and vibrant.