Vanessa Mendoza is the executive vice president of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a domestic public-policy think tank. She joined the Institute in 2006 as a policy analyst for its legal policy division. She was named vice president for development in 2009, and in 2012 was named executive vice president of the Institute. As executive vice president, Vanessa works with MI’s president to develop and manage the Institute’s strategic focus and projects. Additionally, she focuses her time on the Institute’s next-generation leadership initiatives including the Institute’s Young Leaders program and Adam Smith Society. She has broad oversight of the Institute’s development team. Prior to joining the Manhattan Institute, she worked for the 2004 Republican National Convention, and for a private-practice attorney.
Vanessa earned her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and her B.A. from New York University with a concentration in the fields of political science, history, and election law. She serves on the board of Intelligence Squared U.S, an organization that seeks to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse, on the advisory board of Open the Books, a nonprofit that works to make government spending transparent to all and the publications committee of the Manhattan Institute’s magazine City Journal. She is a former board member of Teneo, an organization of young professionals committed to advancing ideas that promote human freedom and flourishing. Vanessa lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her husband and two children.