Elite Partners

Uncommon Thinkers: Che Lee

Client Executive, Deloitte

By Seattle Mag April 1, 2024

A smiling man in business attire posing in a busy indoor setting, representing Uncommon Thinkers.

This post is sponsored.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

“Uncommon Thinkers” is a partnership between Greater Seattle Partners and Seattle magazine that showcases Seattle’s innovative and ambitious Korean American community. 

Che Lee was so happy to arrive in Seattle that he wanted to kiss the ground. Twenty-five years later, he still feels the same way.

Lee’s a client executive at Deloitte in Seattle, moved to upstate New York from Korea with his family when he was 15 years old. After graduating from college in Maine, he and a buddy drove across the country, with Seattle as their destination.

“There was this natural lure of the westward adventure,” Lee recalls. “The mountains, the ocean, the pioneering spirit of Seattle really called out to me.”

To this day, the lessons his parents and grandparents taught motivate him to give back. In his role with Deloitte’s government and public service practice, Lee helps both government clients and health and human services leaders shape programs to help vulnerable populations.

Lee’s maternal grandparents started an orphanage in South Korea after the Korean War, and then launched a school. Both his parents became professors. His mother went into social welfare, and his father education. That sense of giving back, he says, runs deep in him.

“When I started my career in Seattle,” he says, “I looked for an opportunity to make a difference.”

He found that as a program lead for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, where he led efforts to build and operate the aging and adult services program of the largest multi-service agency serving Asian Pacific Islander immigrants and refugees in the Pacific Northwest.

He continued that work at the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. He entered the financial services industry more than a decade ago because he thought improving his business acumen would give him skills to serve the causes in which he believed. He joined Deloitte in 2021. The common thread throughout remains a keen focus on helping vulnerable populations and giving back to the community.

His extensive volunteer work includes the Service Board, which mentors teens via outdoor adventure and public service; the Korean American Coalition; the Korean Women’s Association, and several more. He has also served as an adviser to the Minority Business Roundtable, and as executive director of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce.

Lee calls the diversity and progressiveness in Seattle “pretty amazing.”

“You have that innovation community, and a lot of folks I know give back. They’re here to serve,” he says. “And that’s what I think makes Seattle pretty unique. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

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