Fall 2022 Barbara Boxer Fellow
Jessica Lall serves as the President and CEO of Central City Association (CCA), a premier advocacy organization focused on enhancing the vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles and increasing opportunity in the region. CCA represents the interests of over 300 businesses, trade associations and nonprofit organizations in L.A. County.
Since becoming CCA’s President and CEO in January 2017, Jessica has restructured the organization, broadened its membership and expanded its governance. She has strengthened its policy advocacy and civic engagement efforts, built diverse coalitions and further developed its thought leadership to produce meaningful results.
Prior to joining CCA, she served as Executive Director of the South Park Business Improvement District in Downtown L.A., where she envisioned and implemented a nationally lauded public art initiative, launched innovative pilot programs and elevated the neighborhood with a strategic branding and economic development plan. Jessica previously held the roles of Senior Policy Director in the Department of Economic and Business Policy for former L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, Communications Director for the Austin Beutner for L.A. Mayor campaign and Chief Advancement Officer at Coro Southern California.
Jessica serves on the boards of the University of Southern California (USC) Board of Governors, Goodwill Southern California, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board and Coro Southern California. She co-chairs the Communications Committee for the USC Board of Governors. In 2021, she ran for Mayor of Los Angeles, focusing her campaign on proactive solutions to homelessness.
Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Social Sciences from USC and is a graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. She lives in L.A. with her husband and their two-year-old daughter.
Study Group: Local Leadership & Community Systems Change
This study group explored what it means to be a leader in Los Angeles’ dynamic context. Through inquiry-based learning, students unpacked different leadership styles, ultimately forming their own conclusions about which approaches are most conducive to tangible, lasting progress. Study groups also considered how change happens in L.A. across and within sectors, including business, nonprofit, and government with applicable examples from Jessica Lall’s civic career.
Fall 2022 Semester Recap
Jessica Lall said this about her experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future: “Young leaders showed up ready to learn, engage with new ideas, and share their own experiences. In the face of hyper-polarization of political issues, our study group became a safe place where we could share differing points of view, lightbulb moments, and challenge our assumptions about major local issues like homelessness, public safety, and housing. No one, including me, had all the answers to our problems, and students came to see the value of inquiry, coalition building and finding common ground on local political issues.”
USC students in Jessica’s study group shared this about their experience:
“I felt safe and welcomed to share my ideas and perspectives. I learned about how Los Angeles functions and some of the challenges that we face as a city. My favorite part of being in this study group was hearing Jessica’s perspective on a variety of crises in L.A., as well as hearing my peer’s thoughts. Everyone was engaged, focused, and respectful.”
“The CPF Fellows Study Groups are a truly invaluable resource for anyone who is interested in politics and policymaking. I learned so much about Los Angeles, policy problems and solutions, and working in politics. I gained incredible insight into how to build a career and make use of resources at USC simply by having direct access to highly successful and knowledgeable Fellows and guest speakers, many of whom are USC alumni themselves. After participating in this program, I’ve grown my outlook on my own future and feel closer to our community and my place as a student at USC and in Los Angeles.”
“My experience engaging with Jessica Lall was tremendous! It was insightful to learn from such an accomplished individual about problems facing our community in L.A. I gained insight on the complexities of political issues and their potential solutions. It heightened my desire to get more involved in the L.A. community. My favorite part was working with Jessica and all of the amazing speakers she brought in over the course of the program.”
“Jessica was very knowledgeable regarding policy and L.A. City/County affairs. I gained a more comprehensive understanding of how the city of Los Angeles works as someone who recently moved here. My favorite part was the scope of knowledge brought to the table from Jessica, our guest speakers, and my classmates.”
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Fall 2022 CPF Fellows Program. Jessica was such an inspiring, resilient, and compassionate leader and change-maker. I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to take this class with her. I learned about the L.A. city government and how the system could be changed in the future. It inspired me to want to get more involved in politics at the local level!”
Jessica shared her thoughts on the importance of politics, her first political experience, and her advice for having respectful political discourse in her “Quick Takes: Q&A with CPF Fellow Jessica Lall” video.