“We are looking forward to the impact that Lea will make for the youth that we serve. We are confident in her leadership style, ability to propel our organization further, and confidence to deepen our roots through the Chicago area,”-Pat Goss, President of the organization’s Board of Directors. Most recently, Lea Jesse served as the Director of the Patrons Program at Chicago’s Big Shoulders Fund, a nonprofit that provides support for local inner-city Catholic schools. During her tenure, she used her business expertise to pave the path to long-term success for their school networks. Most notably, she rebuilt and expanded their Fellowship Program, which improved school enrollment rates and began attracting high-quality talent from universities all over the country. This organizational restructuring led to many former Fellows working in local schools.
“While having been exposed to golf later in life, I’ve learned it truly is a great forum for connecting people, communities, and causes. The game teaches the principles of honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship. I am excited to help First Tee Greater Chicago enter this new chapter in its history. At the end of the day, this is about so much more than golf,”-Lea Jesse, CEO of First Tee Greater Chicago. In the corporate world, she established herself as an expert in Donor-Advised Funds by reinvigorating a previously-defunct program called the Charitable Giving Fund at J.P. Morgan, building relationships and introducing brand-new product features that tripled the program’s assets. Noted for her ability to build relationships, Lea Jesse understands the importance of interacting with key organizational stakeholders from the children served by programming to donors to board members and the others in-between. She joins First Tee Greater Chicago at a pivotal time in the organization’s history as it takes on two new projects, a strategic plan, and aggressive fundraising goals to reach more of Chicago’s youth.