Founder and CEO
The Opportunity Network
Jessica Pliska is Founder and CEO of The Opportunity Network, where she sets the bar for organizational growth and oversees organizational program strategy, fundraising, visibility and institutional excellence. Under Jessica’s leadership, OppNet has grown from a pilot serving one school and 10 students to a highly regarded education player in New York City, serving 2,500 students, recruited from more than 100 schools. Jessica also sits on the organization’s board of directors.
Before founding OppNet, Jessica launched the marketing department for Mercer Delta Consulting, a Marsh & McLennan company, as its first U.S. Director of Marketing, and before that she was an executive at Edelman, where she managed communications for CEOs. She received her B.A. from Yale College.
Jessica and her team are credited with coining the term Career Fluency® for OppNet students ― how to build work experience, master professional skills and cultivate networks to launch successful careers as college graduates. The term is cited frequently in youth development contexts as a major factor in closing the achievement gap. She recently introduced the term “career undermatching” to describe the phenomenon in which talented, college graduates from low-income families wind up in jobs that don’t match their abilities or ambitions.
Jessica sits on the board of Career Village and previously sat on the National Advisory Board of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. She also is a member of the National College Access Network’s Rapid Response Policy Team. She was one of the founding members of the Student Success Network. Jessica sits on the NYC Department of Education Career Readiness working group and has served as an expert for DOE-sponsored forums about career readiness and career exploration policy and program development. She is a regular contributor for Forbes and has appeared in such national press as Bloomberg Television, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Huffington Post.