WASHINGTON – J Street is pleased to announce that Jessica Smith joined its leadership team as Chief Operating Officer today. Smith comes to J Street from Burson-Marsteller, where she served as a Managing Director within the Public Affairs and Crisis practice.
Smith is J Street’s first Chief Operating Officer. She holds primary responsibility for managing day-to-day operations and driving cross-organizational strategies that will advance J Street’s mission and vision. Smith joins in the ninth year of J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans. Today, J Street is a $9 million organization with a national staff of 70 and growing.
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, who worked with Smith at Fenton Communications from 2004-2006, says of Smith: “I have known Jess for nearly fifteen years and can attest that she brings a unique mix of political, management and communications experience that will benefit J Street greatly. These are challenging times in the United States as they are in Israel and the Middle East. It’s great to bring Jess onto the team, and I know she will help our movement successfully navigate these turbulent waters.”
“I’m thrilled to join J Street, an organization that I’ve long admired and that holds an important role in shaping US politics and policy involving the Middle East,” Smith said.
Smith adds: “In this new position, I am also excited to work with Jeremy again; he is a visionary, responsible for building a dynamic and continually-growing organization that has engendered a loyal following in DC and across the nation. The work of J Street is important and inspiring. It’s an honor to join the team.”
Smith has an extensive background in organizational management, strategic communications, campaign strategy, policy development and stakeholder outreach — within the public and private sectors, Capitol Hill and the White House. During her tenure at Burson, she was named to PRWeek’s “40 Under 40” list of Public Relations professionals. Smith previously served in the Obama Administration – first as a senior spokesperson for the Department of Justice and then as the Director of External Affairs for FEMA. She served as the government’s lead spokesperson during some of the most notable disasters, including Hurricane Sandy.
Smith was also the Communications Director for Senator Jim Webb, working both in his US Senate office and on his 2006 campaign. She has managed congressional campaigns, served as a political director for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and as an adviser to then-Chairman Terry McAuliffe at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.