Secretary Esther Lee, Commonwealth of Virginia
Secretary Esther Lee is the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for The Commonwealth of Virginia. Esther Lee is a strategic business leader with senior management experience in Fortune 500 companies and government. Esther has served as Global Chief Marketing and New Business Officer at Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest strategic communications firms. As a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, she led its marketing, thought leadership, and new business strategies and advised major clients like Coca-Cola and Marriott.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Esther as Senior Policy Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She created and led the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She also helped launch the White House “Startup America” initiative, organized the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, and served on the White House Urban Policy Council, Middle Class Taskforce, and the President’s Taskforce on Small Business Contracting.
Before her government service, Esther was a seasoned executive with over 15 years of experience in technology, media, and finance. She was the Chief Marketing and Administrative Officer at a Fortune 500 financial services firm, where she led a new branding campaign. At Siemens, she launched the firm’s thought leadership program and managed key strategic marketing initiatives. At AOL/Time Warner, she created integrated marketing campaigns for clients like Home Depot and IBM. She started her career as a business and technology journalist at CNN.
Esther serves as Vice Chair of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and has been a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and co-founder of the Council of Korean Americans. She received a Bachelor’s in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.