Hope Knight is the President, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development, New York State’s economic development agency. She was nominated to the position by Governor Kathy Hochul in October 2021, and confirmed by the New York State Senate in May 2022.
At ESD, Commissioner Knight is dedicated to policies that advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth. She has been instrumental in the creation of the state’s Office of Strategic Workforce Development, which will focus on improving New York's workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today's employers. Ms. Knight has also focused efforts on supporting New York State’s small businesses, ensuring that they have the resources needed to grow and thrive, and growing the state’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business community.
Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Knight served as President & CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, one of the nation’s first community development corporations. In that capacity, she advanced economic growth, community-building, and sustainable real estate development that has immeasurably revitalized and strengthened the Southeast Queens region. Additionally, from 2015 to 2021 she was a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission.
Commissioner Knight was Chief Operating Officer of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, overseeing more than $150 million in investments and leveraging over $1 billion in private capital. She also served as a Vice President at Morgan Stanley in domestic and international capacities. Earlier in her career, Ms. Knight worked at Accenture and in New York City government. She holds a BA from Marymount Manhattan College and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago.