Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced he has tapped Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp to serve as the next CEO of World Business Chicago ( WBC ) — a move that will build on the Mayor's efforts to drive economic growth in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The move will allow current WBC CEO Jeff Malehorn to focus his time and efforts exclusively on the city's efforts to bring Amazon's second headquarters, and 50,000 new jobs, to Chicago.
Since joining the Emanuel administration, Zopp has overseen a suite of neighborhood economic efforts, including the creation of the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund which uses funds generated by downtown businesses to support economic development on the south, west and southwest sides of the city. To date the Fund has used $3.2 million in funding to support 32 businesses across the city, including a vegan restaurant in Chatham, a plant nursery in North Lawndale and an art gallery in West Humboldt Park. A second round of $2.5 million in funding was just announced earlier this month.
Additionally, Mayor Emanuel announced a series of key hires within his office.
Roderick Hawkins,, a prominent LGBTQ advocate, will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Engagement. Hawkins has been Director of the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement since July 2016. In his newly expanded role, Hawkins will partner with faith leaders and community leaders across Chicago on a wide range of public safety, education and neighborhood growth efforts. He will also oversee Chicago's actions to remain a Welcoming City to immigrants across the world. Hawkins will work closely with Vance Henry, who has served as a trusted advisor to Mayor Emanuel on faith based initiatives since 2011. Hawkins is a resident of South Shore.
Victoria Watkins will serve as Senior Advisor. Watkins has headed up the Mayor's Springfield legislative team since 2013 and has worked for the City since 2011.
Aarti Kotak will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Neighborhood Economic Development. Kotak brings deep experience in neighborhood economic development to the Mayor's office through her current role as the Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Economic Development Bureau in the city's Department of Planning and Development.