Akeem Jamal

Assistant Vice President of Communications & Government Affairs at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

Incorporating his years of government experience, Mr. Jamal became a member of RIOC in August 2022. His most recent role was as Deputy Communications Director at the City of Yonkers – New York State’s third-largest city. There, Jamal led a robust team and operated as a senior advisor to Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. He also assumed the role of the city’s spokesperson, spearheaded the creation of new initiatives, orchestrated high-level events for the Mayor’s Office, and collaborated with city, state, and county officials on major endeavors.

Transferring this invaluable experience to RIOC, Mr. Jamal has taken on the responsibility of designing community engagement activities, formulating internal and external communications procedures, nurturing relationships with city, state, and federal leaders, and effectively conveying the vision of the President & CEO through various communication channels.

Mr. Jamal graduated Cum Laude from Pace University – Lubin School of Business, holding a Master of Business Administration. He is also a proud graduate of Fordham University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Media Studies.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day begins early with a structured routine. I prioritize tasks and meetings, ensuring they align with our mission and strategic goals. Time management is key, so I allocate focused blocks for deep work and avoid multitasking. Regular breaks and mindfulness exercises help maintain productivity and clarity.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas come to life through meticulous planning and collaboration. I assemble cross-functional teams, fostering a culture of open communication and creativity. Clear project roadmaps, well-defined roles, and constant feedback loops ensure ideas are executed with precision.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The integration of AI and sustainability excites me. Leveraging technology to drive positive environmental and social impact is a responsibility we can’t ignore.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I religiously follow the “Two-Minute Rule.” If a task takes less than two minutes, I tackle it immediately, preventing accumulation of small tasks that can disrupt focus.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Each setback is a chance to learn and grow. Seek mentors, value relationships, and never stop learning.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

I believe that traditional hierarchies will become more fluid, enabling employees at all levels to contribute to strategic decisions. Empowerment doesn’t solely rest at the top.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Regularly engage in self-assessment. Reflecting on personal and professional growth helps adapt to changing environments and make necessary course corrections.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

I pause and revisit my mission. By reminding myself of the larger purpose, I realign my focus, delegate non-essential tasks, and break overwhelming challenges into manageable steps.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Building a culture of trust has been pivotal. When individuals are empowered and encouraged to voice ideas, innovation flourishes, and teams are more resilient in the face of challenges.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

One failure was a project launch that didn’t meet expectations. I acknowledged shortcomings, sought feedback, and revamped our approach. The lesson was that failure is an opportunity to reevaluate, improve, and persevere.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A platform connecting retired professionals with startups, providing mentorship and guidance to up and coming professionals. This synergistic relationship benefits both parties and enhances entrepreneurial ecosystems.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Trello has transformed how I organize tasks and information. It combines note-taking, project management, and database functionalities, creating a streamlined digital workspace.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. It explores the importance of leadership empathy and the impact it has on fostering a thriving and innovative work culture.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

“The Queen’s Gambit.” Beyond the brilliant portrayal of chess mastery, it delves into themes of resilience, gender roles, and the pursuit of excellence.

Key learnings

  • Success stems from disciplined time management and a commitment to a larger mission.
  • Failure is a catalyst for growth and adaptation; mentorship accelerates this process.
  • Open communication and empowerment lead to innovation and resilience.
  • Integrating AI and sustainability can lead to endless opportunities for impact.
  • Fluid hierarchies and diverse perspectives drive effective decision-making.