|Laura Walker '87|
Laura Walker '87 President & CEO
New York Public Radio
I used my two years of study to think about what it meant to be both a manager and a strategic leader, and Yale SOM provided both continuous intellectual challenge and a climate with an infectious sense of possibility! As a result, I gained essential tools that allowed me to lead a number of high profile arts organizations. My MBA has been instrumental in my work at Sesame Workshop and in helping me guide New York Public Radio through a period of tremendous growth and change. The wide range of courses in finance, marketing, and organizational behavior gave me experience on which I continuously draw, and the contacts I made at Yale SOM continue to be my most trusted sounding boards and great friends."
Laura R. Walker is president and CEO of New York Public Radio, comprised of WNYC-FM, WNYC-AM, and Classical 105.9 WQXR. Ms. Walker led the transformation of WNYC from a city-owned agency into an independent, award-winning non-profit with over one million listeners and a dedicated board of trustees. In February 2009, WNYC completed a $62.9 million capital campaign, above its original goals of $57.5 million, to finance the station’s move to new headquarters at 160 Varick Street and to fund new programming initiatives. In 2009, WNYC acquired WQXR from The New York Times Company, preserving the City’s sole 24/7 classical music station.
During her tenure, Ms. Walker has spearheaded many new programming initiatives, including the expansion of WNYC’s news and documentary units, the extension of live music programming, the introduction of American standards host Jonathan Schwartz, and the creation of new national programs: Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, The Next Big Thing, Radiolab, and The Takeaway, a co-production with Public Radio International, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, the New York Times, and WGBH Boston.
Ms. Walker began her professional career as a journalist and producer at National Public Radio, where she received a prestigious Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 1983 she joined the staff of Carnegie Hall where she launched the award-winning series AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. She joined the Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop) in 1987, where for eight years she worked on programming and development initiatives, and led the organization’s efforts to establish a cable television channel (now Noggin).
In addition to the WNYC Board of Trustees, Ms. Walker sits on the boards of the Educational Development Center, Saint Ann’s School, and the Yale Center for Customer Insights and she is the chair of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District Steering Committee. Previously, Ms. Walker sat on the Board of Advisors for the Yale School of Management and the board of directors for Public Radio International.
Ms. Walker holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in history from Wesleyan University. She resides in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Bert Wells, their son (Yale College, Class of 2014) and daughter.