By John Grennan

As president of the Asian Pacific American Student Association (APASA) last year, Jessica Lee ’07 knew how to bring people together.

“Networking is one of my strongest suits,” says Lee, who graduated in May. “I always tried to introduce different campus club leaders to each other — if I couldn’t do something, I wanted to put people in touch with someone who could.”

Lee organized events that highlighted the diversity of Asian cultures and worked to recruit and retain minority students. In her sophomore and junior years, Lee, an accounting major, served as APASA’s vice president for finance.

“I had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had at another college,” Lee says. “It was a huge learning experience — my leadership skills really developed.”

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (SIL) named her the 2007 Student Leader of the Year.

“Jessica is such a hard-working, dedicated person — she’s full of vim and vigor,” says Brother Dominic Berardelli, the APASA moderator. “She’s so organized — it seems like she must have an extra hour in the day that we don’t know about.”

Jim Sciuto ’00, who worked with Lee through SIL, says he could see from the start that Lee “was a real leader.”

“It’s been great to see her grow as a student, a leader and a person,” he says.

Lee was also a driving force behind the School of Economics and Business’ “Meet the Firms” event, bringing potential employers such as Wells Fargo, Chevron and Clorox to campus to meet with students.

Lee started working in September as an auditor in the San Francisco office of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. She’s confident that her accounting classes and leadership experience at Saint Mary’s have prepared her to succeed.

“Having worked with so many other people will help me to communicate as well as possible and to understand different personalities,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot about conflict management and responding to pressure.”

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