TorchLight August Contractor of the Month: Irene Lee

by Susan Mullin

Congratulations to Irene Lee for her selection as TorchLight’s Contractor of the Month! Irene was chosen because of her strong problem-solving skills, business/tech acumen and more. Keep reading to learn more about Irene – what she studied, her career advice to professionals and what she likes most about the TorchLight team!

Irene Lee headshot
August Contractor of the Month:
Irene Lee

Where did you grow up and where did you go to college? What did you study?

I was born and raised in New York and went to Boston University for college where I studied international relations. I went on to get my law degree from Rutgers University and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Fordham University.

What did (or do!) you want to be when you grow up? How did you get into marketing and communications?

I worked at American Express, which has a big focus on marketing, and had roles in digital and new product development. I worked with cross-functional partners in marketing, which is how I learned the significance of marketing and how all of those cross-functional roles need to work seamlessly together for group success. It was through collaboration and teamwork that I was able to develop, build and launch a new Card product into market in 6 months.

When I think about what I want to do when I grow up now, sometimes I think about saving puppies and animals, and sometimes I think about wearing dusty work boots, a large sun hat, and cargo pants with a hammer hanging from the loop, and building homes for orphans. I guess I’m still trying to figure things out.

What do you like to do for fun? (Pre-COVID or currently or both 😊)

I recently started playing pickleball and am so surprised at how much I enjoy playing! I‘d heard about pickleball in passing from my mother-in-law but it wasn’t until our new neighbors (we moved to our current home in MD from DC in July 2020) invited us to play (after we were all vaccinated). The pickleball court and game are large enough to run around and get in a good cardio workout, yet small enough that I don’t feel like I’m going to lose a lung.

Favorite food? Drink?

Favorite drink: I love just about every Tuscan red and most IPAs. And Diet Pepsi.

Favorite food: Anything I don’t have to cook.

One bucket list destination…

Just one? I would love to go back to Hawaii with my partner, drive around the islands in a Wrangler with the top down and doors off, and hike a bunch of rainforests with my dog, Sophie, running off-leash. Also, Bora Bora.

What’s the best advice a manager has ever given you?

Control the things you can control, and think about the story you want to tell. She would encourage me not to give a recounting of a series of events but to tell the story that I wanted to tell, and how do I tell that story to upper management and leadership?

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?

To learn a broad array of content matter, skills, and functions. Be humble but not to confuse humility with being proud of and touting their accomplishments, and to be a collaborative teammate that folks enjoy working with. When you find something you love doing, go for it!

What work accomplishment are you most proud of?

In NYC, my career was focused on financial services. Even as a consultant with Ernst & Young, my clients were in the financial services industry. Washington, DC has different industries, however, so I unexpectedly had to pivot and find new career niches, but in doing so, I learned that my experiences in NY still had relevance here. I’m proud I made the transition to the DC metro region, and I’m proud that I can carry my background and experiences anywhere I go and they’ll be viewed as valuable and relevant.

What has been the biggest plus about working from home during the pandemic? Challenge?

As an introvert, working from (our new) home has been awesome! Zoom life is hard but having a clear start and end to meetings works well and allows me to move from task to task with fewer distractions. I also don’t miss the beltway or the traffic. Eliminating that commuting time has helped me be more well-rounded, spend more time on my family and outside-of-work relationships, and work on my pickleball game.

Finally, what do you like about working for TorchLight?

Everyone at TorchLight has been really good to me and they’ve been kind. They’ve brought me opportunities with great organizations to work on fun digital projects where I keep learning something new.

Congratulations again to our August Contractor of the Month, Irene Lee. Keep up the good work! Check out our last Contractor of the Month, Kelley Rosati.

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