Meet Jessica Lee

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Jessica Lee is a senior director for Marriott International’s Global Employer Brand and Communications team. She and her team use an insights-driven approach to develop and implement a range of branded strategies and creative solutions to motivate and engage key target audiences including job seekers and associates. She is also actively engaged in introducing and driving talent related innovations across the enterprise. Jessica’s HR experiences range from recruitment to talent management and more at small companies, the public sector and now a Fortune 500 company. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants employer brand stuff she’s focused on now though—she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, 15 years or so living the trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.

Follow Jessica on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn today!



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..

A lot of people I know think HR stinks. That’s unfortunate because I know we are and can do way better than the perceptions out there. And I’m here to help by sharing what’s in this noggin’ of mine, and hopefully helping you out along the way. But I’m no consultant who is just spewing uninformed opinions, I’m an HR gal from the trenches. I’ve had to process PAFs, manage leave laws across dozens of states, recruit for everything from receptionists to CFOs. So I know what life is like for us HR folks, and you can trust I’ve got a lot of opinions about how we can collectively up our game and change what people think about HR.

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

I’m senior director of employer brand + communications with Marriott International, one of the world’s most beloved travel companies. This means I get to work at the intersection of brand/marketing and talent for an awesome brand that has a footprint of 80+ countries of 19+ brands. I’m part of an amazing insights driven team of brand/marketing, HR and communications professionals who work collaboratively to creatively develop greater awareness and excitement for Marriott’s employer brand and high profile talent initiatives. It’s an awesome gig,

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 15 years into this game, I’ve found that despite being a second choice… I’m darn good at what I do, love it and am committed to it. I’ve been able to parlay my love for marketing and all things digital into the talent space and now am part of an emerging and fast growing discipline called employer brand. Or talent brand. Or recruitment marketing. Or employment branding. EVP anyone? Yep, that’s my world now.

And with FOT… well, this whole blog game has helped refine my interests and long term goals – which all ultimately 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?

Missy Elliott’s Get Ur Freak On. There’s no way you can sit there and not at least tap your foot when it comes on. But why it’s a crowd pleaser? Missy was, for me, an early feminist artist and brings global appeal into her music—bhangra and Japanese both in this song? Me likey. And it just sounds soooo good. There’s really not a ton of deeper meaning with this choice.

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.

Why beat around the bush? Sometimes you 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 _________…”

They call me “Jess.” My name is Jessica. I introduce myself as Jessica. That’s my name. Jess isn’t my name. Although once you get to know me, I accept J-Lee and JL as acceptable greetings.

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

I hate this question. My options are limited so let’s go with… Lucy Liu. You can answer for yourself why it’s a good fit.

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

  • The Fountainhead
  • Steve Jobs
  • Goodnight Moon

But honestly I don’t read books much anymore these days except for Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You… which in my house, we read nightly. Let’s blame it on mom-life, ADD, and the fact that I like reading in bite size chunks or listening to content via podcasts instead.

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

The Fantastic Mr. Fox. That’s cussing it.

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

I mean, I’m not that old so “old school” for me would have to be The Roots. Yes, kids. Before The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Roots had a dozen or so albums. Live musical instruments infused with poetic lyrics… how can you not love them? Oh, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I also have a soft spot for Tupac given my West Coast roots. Thug life!

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

I’ve always been a public transportation advocate and didn’t get my first car until my 20s, which I only drove for a year. Now that I live in the burbs, I don’t really have a choice and I drive a mom-car. It’s not a minivan, but it might as well be. I don’t like talking about it. ___________________________________________________________________________________

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