Sami Naim '03 Named "Rising Star" by NYC's City Hall News

Sami Naim
Assistant Counselor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Age: 32

Sami Naim was on track to take a job at a big corporate law firm and earn all the prestige that came with it, when he decided to take a walk in the park instead.

“Yeah, the Parks Department,” Naim said. “That wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know they had lawyers.”

Naim, who is originally from upstate New York, accepted a position at the Parks Department that allowed him to explore every green inch of his new city, all while working on rulemaking on controversial issues like dog leashes, houseboats and membership fees for recreation centers. He got to experience everything from soccer in Flushing Meadows to bird watching in Bronx River Park. 

Now, as an assistant counsel to the most powerful man in the city, Naim still calls on his experience at Parks when tackling his new portfolio. For example, he was involved in helping craft Bloomberg’s latest proposal to ban smoking in parks and public beaches.

That said, there are several striking differences between the two jobs.

“Back then, my office was in a park,” he said. “Here, you go through metal detectors every day.”

How did past jobs get you to where you are now?
When I worked at the Parks Department, I worked on a broad swath of issues that really prepared me for my current position.

What will your business card say in five years?

I just hope it’s not something boring.

If you weren’t in politics, what would you be doing?
Landscape architect