My name is David Lee. Generally, I’m optimistic about the future.
At work, I lead innovation programs at UPS. You may have seen some of our brown delivery vehicles on your street today. It’s a wonderful job because I get the chance to work with thousands of UPSers around the world to explore problems and design interesting solutions together. My core professional belief is that the people are capable of doing amazing things, but that more organizations need to create channels for people to demonstrate their full set of abilities. Now, more than ever, we need working environments that people love – where they are able to bring every ounce of creativity, brilliance, and oddness to work. Human beings can be amazing on weekends. We as leaders need to make it easier for people to bring their Saturday-self to work and create great products, tools, and experiences for our customers and our co-workers. The future depends on it.
Prior to UPS, I had the fortunate chance to be part of building a number of teams and capabilities inside other large companies. I helped to launch and lead an amazing team of people who made miracles happen at SunTrust Bank, a purpose-driven regional bank based in Atlanta, Georgia. Before that, as a member of Bank of America’s emerging technology lab and venture capital group, we worked on exploring and enabling some of the best innovations in personal finance over the last 20 years. From that work, we launched services like check image capturing, modern ATMs, and enhancements to online brokerage services. My last role there was to help launch a startup business inside the company to better serve the retirement needs of millions of Americans, making it easier transition into the adult life that so many people dream about.
I went to business school at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Going into it, I cynically thought an MBA was mostly about a credential and network. I grossly underestimated how much the learning experience would forever change the way I think and approach problems. Thank goodness for the professors and students there. I spent my undergrad years at the University of Virginia, where I was not the best student. But, I got to spend a lot of time with many brilliant and strange people who have grown up to become remarkable teachers, leaders, and civil servants.
I’m a dad, a partner, a son, and a brother. The research says that the quality of your personal relationships and the purposefulness of your work are the largest predictors of happiness. But you don’t need statistics to know that’s true. Work hard and love the people who you spend your life with. Some parts of being human aren’t so complicated after all.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.