Meet Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is director of digital talent strategy for Marriott International. In this newly minted role, she leads their talent related digital and social media efforts for the Marriott International family of brands… which means she blogs, tweets and plays on Facebook all day. Kind of. In what she’ll quickly tell you is her dream job, JLee is working to differentiate and position Marriott to most effectively optimize innovative technologies to address the brand’s business needs in the talent space.  Check out the baseline of what Marriott has done on Facebook, or in this profile via Fortune Magazine in which they are called out as a social media star. Pretty freaking cool what they’ve done already… and she’ll work to take it even further to the next level. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants digital stuff though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade or so into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.

Talk to Jessica via EmailLinkedInTwitter or Facebook

See Jessica’s riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here

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10.5 QUESTIONS WITH JESSICA LEE

1.  The elevator just closed and you’ve got 30 seconds to pitch the random reader on who you are and why they should read your rants.  Go..

Because I said so.

But really – most people I know think HR stinks. I don’t blame them because there are a lot of bad HR people out there. Here though, you’ve got assembled a pretty darn good group of pros who don’t speak in uber-academic terms but do always speak in truths. Get into our heads and find out why we do the things we do, and how we really feel about you. 

2.  Now for the mundane – break down your location, title, company/firm and what you do for a living..

I’m director of digital talent strategy with Marriott International. It’s a new role as of January 2012 and I’m just getting settled in. With the big M though, I’ll be partnering with other HR colleagues across the world and within Marriott’s family of brands to to develop a multi-year, enterprise-wide digital engagement and marketing strategy focused on impacting the entire employee life cycle from talent acquisition and beyond. Prior to taking on this dream job, I was I’m a VP of talent acquisition for APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs and strategic communication consultancy… or you could call it PR.   

3.  One more question that everyone expects. What’s the reason you’re in this game? (why do you do what you do?)

First and foremost, my career as a pop star didn’t work out. And I won’t lie – I fell into HR. It wasn’t even plan B for me. But now that I’m more than ten years into this game, I’ve found that despite being a second string choice… I’m darn good at what I do, love it and am committed to it. The nosy part of me allows me to have my finger on the pulse of everything going on with everyone in an organization (the good, bad and ugly)… and the judgmental/opinionated side of me is set free as I get to analyze and re-analyze people and their actions to death.

And with FOT… well, this whole blog game has helped refine my interests and long term goals – which all really center around making HR cooler again. I believe in (most, or some) of us and I think we can. Yes! We! Can! Can you tell I’m from DC?

4.  If you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game, you know batters from the home team get to pick their own theme music as they walk from the dugout to the plate.  If we ever have a FOT convention, what theme music will you come out to to pump the crowd up and why?

Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack…I won’t say any more on this one – I think I’ve already gone there. 

Editors Note – The plan with these profiles is to load the videos in, but right from the jump we got a video with women in bras, and probably more importantly, one that’s protected and policed by the record label.  Damn.  Bring open source back, JT….

5.  Let’s stick with the baseball theme. If you’ve ever been to a pro game, you also know that the visitor doesn’t get to pick their own music.  The home team picks that for them, and it’s usually less than stellar as a means of attempting to crush them.  If you could pick theme music for your arch-rival to walk into a conference room to, what would it be and why?

Creep by Radiohead.

But I’m a creep
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here…

Sometimes we just need to get straight to the point.



6.  Finish the following sentence – “When I’m interviewing, I can tell within one minute that this thing isn’t going to work out because _________…”

… the candidate doesn’t have at least a collared shirt on!

… the candidate is the kid of an executive at my company or of one if our clients and says, “I’m really glad my mom/dad was able to arrange this!”

… the candidate reeks like cigarette smoke.

This is too much fun! I’ll stop now though. Truthfully, it takes me a good three minutes to make my mind up on someone.

7.  Name the actor/actress that will portray you in the movie about you.  Why the heck is that a fit?

My options are limited so let’s go with… Lucy Liu! You can answer for yourself why it’s a fit.



8.  List three of your favorite books to pander to the educated segment of our readership…

  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  • The New Best Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated



9.  List three of your favorite movies to connect with the segment of our readership that doesn’t like to read…

It changes daily… but for today, let’s go with:

  • The Graduate
  • In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai)
  • Crooklyn



10.  Let’s reach out to what remains of our readership. Who’s your favorite Old-School Rapper and why?

I vote Tupac. I know it isn’t really old school… but he blew up during my school years and I’ll forever love him for being compelling, deeply talented, provocative… both sensitive and hard-hitting.

10.5.  My first car was a…  and here’s how it defined who I am….

I’ve never really had my own car! I drove for about a total of one year… and that’s pretty much the extent of my driving experience. I’m a public transportation advocate and prefer a cab/train/bus/being on foot to riding in cars. Am I an environmental nut? Not really, I barely recycle… the truth is I’m just not a good driver nor do I enjoy having to pay so much attention to red/green…

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See Jessica’s riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here