Under Walker’s leadership, New York Public Radio’s audience has grown from 1 million to 23.9 million monthly, and more than $100 million has been raised for long-term investment. New York Public Radio owns and operates eight public radio stations, including WNYC, the most-listened-to public radio station in the country, and WQXR, New York’s classical music station. New York Public Radio has been honored with 10 Peabody Awards during Walker’s tenure. WNYC Studios, New York Public Radio’s national production unit, is home to some of the most influential, top-rated public radio programs and podcasts, including Radiolab, Freaknonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, On the Media, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway, among many others.
“Laura Walker brings to The Commonwealth Fund’s Board a wealth of experience in leadership and innovation in nonprofit journalism,” said Board chairman Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., President and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. “Her insights will be invaluable in informing the Fund’s efforts to communicate to key audiences as it works towards fulfilling its mission to move our country toward a high performing health system.”
In 2008 Walker received the Edgar R. Murrow award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the industry’s highest honor. She also received a Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence during her tenure as a producer at NPR. Earlier in her career she worked at Carnegie Hall, the Sesame Workshop, the Boston Consulting Group, and Eurasia Press, as well as in print journalism.
“We are fortunate to have Laura Walker join our Board as The Commonwealth Fund pursues its goal of ensuring our health care system can provide high-quality care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable in our society,” said Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D.
Walker was named one of New York City’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York Business. She received Public Radio International’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University, among other honors.
“I am thrilled to join the Board of The Commonwealth Fund,” said Walker. “Health care is an issue that touches every American family, and The Commonwealth Fund is committed to bringing together the greatest minds along the political spectrum to conduct meaningful research and find workable solutions, particularly for those who are most in need. I’m looking forward to participating in the Fund’s important work.”
Walker sits on the boards of New York Public Radio, The Tribune Media Company, Saint Ann’s School, Yale Center for Customer Insights, and the Eagle Picher Trust. She graduated with a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University, and has an MBA from the Yale School of Management.