KAC-WA

News & Updates

Uncommon Thinkers: Cheryl Lee

Chief Executive Director, Korean Women’s Association

The article delves into the remarkable journey of Cheryl Lee, executive director of the Korean Women’s Association (KWA), a nonprofit organization based in Seattle. With a background spanning engineering, politics, business, and law, Lee brings a unique skill set to her role, overseeing KWA’s extensive operations. Founded in 1972, KWA serves over 10,000 individuals annually across Western Washington, offering crucial services such as in-home caregiving, meal provisions, and managing nearly 300 units of affordable housing.

Lee’s personal narrative is deeply intertwined with the immigrant experience, as her parents moved to Seattle from South Korea when she was a child. Their struggles, including residing in a cramped apartment downtown before affording a proper home, instilled in her a profound sense of empathy and determination. She is driven by the belief that everyone deserves to age with dignity and access to essential resources.

Her professional journey is equally impressive, having worked at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Microsoft before transitioning to a career in law, where she held prominent positions such as general counsel to Ballmer Group and legal adviser to the consulate general of the Republic of Korea in Seattle. Despite her demanding career, Lee remains deeply rooted in community service, a commitment she developed in childhood by assisting immigrant families with various challenges.

Lee’s global perspective is evident in her recent trip to Seoul, where she explored innovative senior service solutions. Despite her extensive travels, her heart remains in Seattle, where she actively contributes to organizations like the Seattle Symphony, Shoreline Community College Foundation, Allied Arts Foundation, and the Washington chapter of the Korean American Coalition.

In essence, Cheryl Lee’s story epitomizes resilience, compassion, and a steadfast dedication to serving others, making her an invaluable asset to both the Korean American community and the greater Seattle area.

BY ANNIE MIDORI ATHERTON

Korean American Coalition

KAC-WA now has over 4,500 members and support from political officials at all levels of the state of Washington.

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