2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Jessica (Yeung) Lee, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Jessica (Yeung) Lee

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“Curious and creative problem solver, empathetic leader, that enjoys bringing ideas to life.”

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Family Members: Husband, Daughter

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a perpetual learner. I’d be a student for life (if there were no expenses!)  

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Waterloo – B.A. in Sociology

Where are you currently working? RBC, Director, Integration Strategy and Alignment (Integration Management Office)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I look for areas where my passion and values align with opportunities to serve. For example: I enjoy trying new restaurants and sharing meals with loved ones, which motivates me to volunteer at a Cornerstone Pantry, a local food bank, serving those who may struggle with food security. And my passion for empowering underrepresented groups is what inspires me to volunteer with Mentor Canada, be a member of Ascend Canada, and serve as a Rotman EMBA Women Ambassador.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The diversity & inclusion dialogues we had during the program that served as catalysts for change. When I reflect back on my cohort, I’ve seen classmates make changes to company educational sponsorship programs to be more accessible, improve hiring practices, be advocates for D&I, and evolve talent strategies to be more inclusive – these are great achievements! And I’m hopeful my cohort will continue to make a difference as leaders.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It would be my unconventional learning journey as a Sociology-major-turned-banker who became startup founder before returning to banking with new perspectives. Each of these chapters has helped me build a unique lens at solving problems as a leader.

The leadership growth experienced through launching a startup from a concept to a fully operational business, built resilience. My experience at the bank taught me how to drive value at scale. And the EMBA has been instrumental in tying those experiences together into tools I can use.

Who was your favorite Executive MBA professor?

Richard Blundell – He further inspired my passion for sustainability with a strategic business lens. Both his expertise and passion in this space was evident when he taught. He invested time in providing personalized feedback which was invaluable.

Yongah Kim – I respect her intelligence, expertise, and strategic perspective. She was engaging and thoughtfully designed class content. Leveraging her industry experience, she provided valuable insights. It was also extra meaningful to see a top-notch professor from an underrepresented group.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? The comprehensive value proposition of the program, beyond the classroom. Having access to 1:1 executive coaching (with Rocca Morra) was vital in making the program a transformational experience.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your Executive MBA and how did you apply it at work?  What you put into it directly affects what you get out of it.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an Executive MBA program? Do not procrastinate on making the decision to do it. If you have the opportunity, go for it!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Going back to school is a decision that only impacts you. It is a decision that impacts everyone around you – your family, friends, network, and company.  “It really does take a village”.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had started sooner.

Which Executive MBA classmate do you most admire? My teammate Avinesh Sundar – his relentless work ethic, integrity and striving for excellence inspired those around him to aim higher. More importantly, his partnership in the advocacy for women and underrepresented groups was admirable.

What was the main reason you chose an Executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The accelerated program delivery worked with my schedule and work/life commitments, as well as the fit in terms of level and years of experience in the classroom.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To be an executive leader with a purpose-driven organization that can make positive impact at scale.

What made Jessica such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Never afraid of the workload in the program, and on top of her challenging role at RBC Ventures and her family obligations, she is a natural leader in dealing with team dynamics and effectiveness. She used the resources to her full advantage and was a great sounding board for her classmates. A strong champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion, she made an impact both professionally and personally to level the playing field.  Already in a new role as the Director of Integration Strategy & Alignment at RBC, and part of the Women in Leadership Development program, her organization sees the potential as she brings a balanced approach to getting results and developing her team to thrive in uncertain times.  She challenged the status quo and was a great advocate for practical and creative solutions for her cohort.  She was a sought after team member as her drive to learn and apply the leadership skills and business knowledge, with an entrepreneurial lens was seen as a competitive advantage.  What would her teammates say about Jessica?  She is committed, engaged, intelligent, drives for success and is able to get best out of people.  Jessica Lee is a leader and people want to follow her.”

Rocca Morra
Executive Coach – Leadership & Careers, Executive MBA Program
Rotman School of Management


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