Cali Williams is known for her collaborative approach to team building, problem solving and outstanding project delivery. A highly regarded strategist and executive leader, Cali joins Karp Strategies as a Principal with more than 15 years of experience working to advance equitable economic development, neighborhood planning and public-private partnerships across the United States and Australia. She has expertly driven some of the most controversial and major land use and infrastructure projects from vision to implementation, managing complex stakeholder engagement processes, building key partnerships, negotiating with senior officials and funders, and developing communications and press strategies.
Cali brings extensive public sector leadership experience that she draws upon to inform her work at Karp Strategies. Prior to consulting, Cali served as Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), where her portfolio included leading Mayoral priority projects resulting in thousands of new housing units, hundreds of acres of new parks, and major investments in infrastructure. During Cali’s eleven-year tenure at the EDC, her leadership informed agency strategy, prioritization, buy-in, and execution across the 500+ organization. As the Director of the Sunnyside Yard project (https://sunnysideyard.nyc), she established an advisory board of City leaders, managed an interdisciplinary team of over 100, and developed the long-term vision for the site in partnership with local and regional stakeholders including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Amtrak. Cali shaped a strategy and vision that integrated core values, project structuring, community needs, and flexibility for a long-term build-out of Sunnyside Yard. Cali directed several other priority projects through evolving political and leadership landscapes including the 2017 rezoning of Downtown Far Rockaway, East Midtown Waterfront Esplanade, commercial strategies for Long Island City, and the Jamaica Now Action Plan.
Before her service in government, Cali worked for several non-profit and consulting firms in California, New Orleans, Boston and Australia. She was a founding board member of the San Francisco Community Land Trust and regularly advises staff and board members at nascent land trusts across the United States. Cali is a highly regarded public speaker and guest speaker lecturer on equitable economic development, neighborhood planning and public-private partnerships. Within the past two years she provided lectures at Harvard University, MIT, Columbia University and internationally in Singapore, Ghana and Australia.
Cali has a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning for Cornell University and a Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She participated in the Coro Leadership New York Program and is a Next City Vanguard. A 5th generation New Yorker, Cali lives in Brooklyn with her husband Marlon and daughter Camilla.