Urban Strategy in the Present Tense ft. Jasmine Sessoms and Harris Steinberg
Urban Strategy in the Present Tense is a conversation series featuring notable urbanists discussing their frontline work in urban resilience, as well as sharing their insights about public policymaking, urban problem solving, and life in Philadelphia.
The eighth installment of this conversation series featured Jasmine Sessoms, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilco Redevelopment Partners and Harris Steinberg, Founding Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.
The series is produced by the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University in partnership with the Urban Strategy Masters Program in Drexel's Westphal College of Media, Arts & Design.
Jasmine Sessoms is a civic, philanthropic and political leader in the City of Philadelphia. She is a lifelong Philadelphian with a true passion for The City. Jasmine currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilco Redevelopment Partners; in this role Jasmine oversees community and government outreach efforts and serves as a key liaison to constituent groups throughout the City of Philadelphia. She uses her deep understanding of the community to build trust and foster collaboration between HRP and the residents, groups and institutions it seeks to work with over the long-term. Early in her tenure at HRP Jasmine worked with the City and the School District of Philadelphia to create the innovative Career Connected Learning Program, that will shape the face of Workforce in Philadelphia for years to come. Jasmine also oversees Hilco Redevelopments Philanthropic efforts, through the Hilco Helps initiatives, which notably during the 2020 Holiday season donated over $1 million of in-kind items to Philadelphians in need.
Before joining Hilco Redevelopment Partners Jasmine served as the Managing Executive Director of The Fund for Philadelphia, where she oversaw $17 million of grants and awards to deliver on the goals of the Mayor of Philadelphia’s philanthropic priorities. She served in this role under Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Mayor James F, Kenney. She has also served in Mayor John F. Street’s Administration overseeing the Public Engagement Office.
In 2014 Jasmine founded a nonprofit organization She Can Win, whose mission is to train and invest in Women, specifically Women of Color to run for office. To date She Can Win has trained over 900 Women throughout the country. Most recently She Can Win hosted a roundtable discussion in partnership with Vice President Kamala Harris in Philadelphia. Jasmine also founded a Political Consultant Firm in 2015, J&S Strategies. Since its founding J&S Strategies has raised over $14 Million dollars in political contributions for candidates, causes, and political action committees. Most notable of clients are: Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor James Kenney, The Black Economic Alliance, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Emily’s List, Minority House Whip Representative Jordan A. Harris, Minority House Leader Representative Joanna McClinton, and Congressman Dwight Evans.
Jasmine has been recognized both nationally and locally as a political leader. She has been recognized as Philadelphia Business Journal 40 Under 40 Business Leaders (the first for a consultant firm), PA City & State 40 Under 40 Political Leaders, KWY’s GameChanger, Philadelphia Magazine Women Trailblazer and Philadelphia Style- Most stylist Philadelphian to name a few. Google’s Women to Watch.
Jasmine graduated from Morgan State University and holds a master’s degree in organizational development and leadership from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She also serves on a multitude of boards and commissions: Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, Mayoral Appointee for Philadelphia Works, PA Voices advocacy chair, Philadelphia250, and The Mann Music Center.
Harris Steinberg is the founding Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and highly respected urban planning professional in the Greater Philadelphia region. The mission of the Lindy Institute is to forge innovative strategies to equitably advance cities. His work at the Lindy Institute includes the 2020 "A Vision for the Lower Schuylkill" and he is currently supporting Philadelphia Parks and Recreation on a plan to pedestrianize the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
He previously served as founding executive director of PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed collaborative projects in various fields including architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, historic preservation, and fine arts. Steinberg has worked on notable projects such as the landmark "Civic Vision for the Central Delaware" planning process, the "Reimagining the Kimmel Center" study, and action plans for Philadelphia's parks and open spaces. He has also explored urban planning projects in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Botswana.
Steinberg is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Architects and has served on the Philadelphia Historical Commission.