Alumni in Action
“There were so many insightful questions raised that I would have never thought to ask.”
Diana Lee - 2005 Bay Area
Spotlight on Diana Lee
I was a public relations manager for Yahoo! for four years prior to business school. I really liked my job, which involved a lot of strategic decision-making and the development of corporate communications strategies. Yet, I was far more motivated by my volunteer work in youth development. Through the non profit that I helped run and through the mentoring I did, I came to realize that the education system was a high-leverage area to help address society's ills and help to alleviate things like poverty, violence and homelessness.
When I decided to go to business school, I already knew that I wanted to find an opportunity in education/youth development.
At Kellogg, I actively searched for opportunities in youth development that played to my skill set and found a strong support network there. Because I did not have any previous formal experience in the education sector, Education Pioneers turned out to be a perfect fit for me as an internship for two main reasons. First, my cohort was invaluable to my experience - the opportunity to be able to discuss key education issues with a diverse group of people in disciplines such as law, public policy, business and urban planning was rare and fortunate. There were so many insightful questions raised that I would have never thought to ask. Secondly, my internship at ACE leveraged my strategic thinking skills and provided ample opportunities to learn from and work one-on-one with the Executive Director. I also benefited from meeting terrific speakers like Don Shalvey from Aspire and the founders of High Tech High. After the fellowship, I chose to become a Broad Resident and work for the Oakland Unified School District.
I believe that the opportunity for impact in a district is extremely significant with hundreds of classrooms in over one hundred schools.
Currently, I am in charge of School Portfolio Management, looking at the programmatic needs of our entire system. I am responsible for looking at our "portfolio" of schools and doing analysis to determine what new programs are needed, what new grade or school configurations are required based on a changing demographic climate and analyzing schools based on achievement and enrollment to determine whether we need to open new schools or close schools who are unable to serve our children. I love the job because it enables me to be strategic but also follow the work through to its implementation. It is the most challenging job I've ever had, but it is so rewarding because I have a real impact on our students. Helping to improve the education system is one of the most important jobs a person can have and I am lucky to have found a good fit.