Sonam Velani

Sonam Velani

Senior Advisor for Housing and Economic Development, New York City Mayor's Office

Sonam Velani is passionate about cities and the infrastructure and technology that drives them forward. She is the Senior Advisor to New York City’s Deputy Mayor, and helps oversee $4.5 billion of investments to build new mobility options, create jobs in cutting-edge sectors, and increase affordable housing. Sonam collaborates with startups and Fortune 50 companies to operationalize emerging technologies in NYC - LiDAR mapping for autonomous vehicles, internet connectivity, and modular housing, to name a few. Sonam also manages city agencies and leads over a dozen cross-functional teams, fostering innovation to better align the public sector with the needs of the people it serves.

Previously, Sonam was an Urban Development Associate at the World Bank. She helped plan, finance, and implement investments across South Asia, including transit systems in India, coastal protection structures in Bangladesh, disaster response operations in Sri Lanka, and civic tech apps in Nepal. Sonam started her career at Goldman Sachs, where she financed over $10 billion of infrastructure projects for clients including the City of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Chicago Public Schools. 

Sonam attended Harvard University and has a BA in Government, Economics, and Visual & Environmental Studies. She was born in Mumbai, India and moved to the U.S. as a child.

Sonam has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, leads financial empowerment programs at the Aga Khan Development Network, and is a Coro Leadership Fellow. Sonam is active in her community and enjoys investing, biking, museum hopping, and traveling on a shoestring (60+ countries).

Participation in past events