Jaime Lee, CEO of the real estate firm Jamison Realty, has been elected to the USC Board of Trustees.
In addition to her professional role overseeing 20 million square feet of commercial and residential properties throughout Southern California, Lee is a dedicated community volunteer and USC supporter. She recently served as president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and has volunteered extensively with other USC alumni groups.
“Jaime Lee is an extraordinarily dedicated member of the Trojan Family who has generously given her leadership skills and expertise to so many USC events and initiatives,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “Her enthusiasm and passion for the university, as well as her exceptional talents in the business world and in real estate, will be an invaluable addition to the board.”
Lee earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in 2006 and completed her law degree at the USC Gould School of Law in 2009. She is a Provost member of USC Associates and a lecturer at USC Gould, the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Marshall School of Business.
The Encino native has longstanding ties to the university. She graduated from high school a year early to enroll at USC through its Resident Honors Program. After a few weeks on campus, the 17-year-old told her parents she wanted to become a trustee of the university.
When you love an institution so much, to be a significant part of advancing its mission and goals is a tremendous honor.
“When you love an institution so much, to be a significant part of advancing its mission and goals is a tremendous honor,” Lee said. “All of the alumni who give back do it because we love USC. The proof is really in the results, in how unbelievably popular USC is among applicants and how it’s becoming more and more exclusive without sacrificing its paramount commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s a great time to be a Trojan.”
From third-generation Trojan to USC Board of Trustees member
A third-generation USC graduate, she followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andrew Chung Woo Nam, who earned his doctorate in dental surgery in 1972, and her mother, Miki Nam, who graduated with a chemistry degree in 1979. Lee’s three brothers, Phillip, Brian and Garrett, also earned dual degrees at USC.
Lee can also thank her father for introducing her to the Trojan Family by strongly encouraging her to apply to the university’s early entrance program. She had initially planned to attend a college on the East Coast, but Lee said her experiences as a freshman at USC proved she had made the right decision to stay in her hometown.
Many of her professors in fine arts and creative writing were internationally known artists or writers. They took Lee and her fellow students to visit galleries on Museum Row or art studios in Venice, exposing her to new cultures and diverse pockets of the city.
“You don’t realize all of these things that are special to L.A. when you grow up here,” she said. “USC really opened my eyes to these different worlds.”
After completing her undergraduate and law degree, Lee went to work for her father’s real estate firm, rising quickly through the ranks to her current position of CEO. Despite her busy work schedule, she remained connected to USC through alumni volunteering, including a two-year term as president of the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association.
Community service roles
She has embraced community service roles as well, serving on the boards of the California Film Commission, the Anderson Munger Family YMCA, Town Hall Los Angeles and the Harvard-Westlake Korean American Alumni Network. Appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Lee was recently elected president of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, which oversees the Port of Los Angeles. She has served as board president and commissioner of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and held leadership roles with other community, municipal and state organizations.
Lee also dedicates time to her young family — 2-year-old daughter, Nora, and son, Evan, who turns 1 in July. Her husband, Matt Cheesebro, is president of Wilshire Construction, a general contracting and construction management firm. He holds a master’s degree in product development engineering from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
As the youngest president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and the first Asian woman to hold the post, Lee emphasized outreach to young alumni and promoted diversity and inclusion. As a USC trustee, she hopes to continue that work, especially through programs like the USC Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a rigorous college-prep program for young students who live in the neighborhoods around USC’s campuses.
“That’s what makes USC so special,” Lee said. “That’s truly the lifeblood of the Trojan Family, diversity of all kinds.”
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