NEW YORK – Guyanese communications professional Dawn Skeete Walker, who previously served as a deputy press secretary for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been appointed to lead the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) new Office of Public-Private Partnerships.
Walker is a veteran communicator who has chalked up extensive experience in public and community relations, marketing, events management, and media relations. In her new job, she is responsible for managing key relationships with external stakeholders, and creating an outreach and development strategy for future public-private partnerships, foundations and not-for-profit institutions, including the implementation of a comprehensive fundraising strategy for NYCHA.
The newly established Office is part of NYCHA’s commitment to foster collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as with NYCHA residents.
“The Office of Public-Private Partnerships is part of NYCHA’s overall mission to identify and recruit partners from the private sector who share the Authority’s vision for improving the lives of its 400,000 residents,” explains NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “Through this effort, led by the very capable expertise of Dawn Walker, NYCHA will launch a new period of civic engagement by effectively linking the work of the non-profit and philanthropic sectors to our efforts to enhance the educational, economic and social needs of our public housing residents.” He added, “We hope to develop, build and sustain diverse funding sources that ultimately will enhance the quality of life and opportunities for NYCHA residents.”
The Authority recently announced partnerships with Habitat for Humanity-NYC and the Harlem Children’s Zone. Early childhood education and health, workforce development and reaching disconnected youth are particular areas of focus for NYCHA, and these efforts are expected to be strengthened with expanded public-private collaboration.
Walker, a native New Yorker with distinctive Caribbean roots, has a strong and diverse background in the corporate, nonprofit and public sectors, with particular skills in relationship management and coalition building. She has been Director of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development; Director of Communications, Media and Public Relations with the YMCA of Greater New York; Director of Public Relations of the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York; Director of Communications of Food for Survival Inc. – the New York City Food Bank. On the corporate side she has held communications positions with Moody’s Investor’s Service/FIS Group; Citicorp Futures Corporation; and Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc.
As Director of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships, she also is the primary liaison to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to develop fundraising strategies and targets to support key programmatic initiatives. The Fund relies on support from foundations, corporations and individuals to help strengthen public programs like those of NYCHA.
Bevan Springer, a New York Amsterdam News columnist who writes frequently on travel, tourism and Caribbean Diaspora issues, is the President of the New Jersey-headquartered Marketplace Excellence LLC – a full-service, integrated mass communications agency committed to excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. He also produces the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism – CMEx.