Episode 78

Belonging: Jeff Le on Growing Up Vietnamese-American, His Work in Politics & Tech, and Solutions for AAPI Racism at Work

Jeff Le has had a career at the highest levels of public policy and politics at the state, federal and international levels. A recognized thought leader in political advocacy and representation, his analysis and opinions have been featured on MSNBC, broadcast television in 40 states, as well as in print at POLITICO MagazineThe New York Times, USA TodayThe Washington Post, FOX NewsThe HillWashingtonianRoll Call, Bustle, Forbes, local and regional newspapers in 35 states. During the height of the #StopAsianHate movement, Jeff penned an opinion piece that received national attention in POLITICO Magazine called I Thought I Knew How to Succeed as an Asian in U.S. Politics. Boy, Was I Wrong. that highlighted his experiences in workplace discrimination in politics and racism throughout his life.


Jeff is now an executive leader in technology where he is Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs for Rhino, a fintech startup working to give renters everywhere greater financial freedom through affordable insurance options. Prior to joining Rhino, Jeff was U.S. State and Local Public Policy Lead for VMware, a digital technology and infrastructure company, and managed the company’s gubernatorial, state, county, and local relationships across all 50 states and Canada. Jeff focused on emerging technology policy, including privacy, 5G, broadband, cyber, sustainability, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, education, and IT modernization. 


He also sits on the Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services where he provides recommendations to the Governor's Homeland Security Advisor on response and policy pertaining to cyber, disasters, terrorism, drug interdiction, intelligence, and other emerging threats. 


Jeff previously served as Deputy Cabinet Secretary for California Governor Jerry Brown where he oversaw homeland security and natural disaster response, immigration, economic development, government operations and civil service reform, emerging technology, artificial intelligence, blockchain, future of work, privacy and cybersecurity, food and agriculture, military, veterans and tribal affairs, and led state negotiations for disaster relief from three historic fires and a megadrought. 


As Governor Brown’s Deputy Director for External and International Affairs, Jeff interfaced with domestic stakeholders and convened foreign dignitaries on behalf of the state. He has also worked at the State Department, U.S. House of Representatives, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, United Nations, Carter Center, and the National Democratic Institute. 


Jeff graduated from the University of California, San Diego and received his graduate degree as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at Central European University. He is a Millennium Leadership Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Term Member on the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Project Partner, and has been selected for bilateral leadership programs to Japan, Germany, the UK, Spain, and Italy. 


Jeff has completed four 100-mile running races, qualified for the Boston Marathon, has been to every Major League Baseball ballpark, all 50 states, and 85 countries.

Here's two links that Jeff mentioned in our convo: 

PBS: https://www.pbs.org/show/asian-americans/

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Training: https://advancingjustice-aajc.org/events

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About the Podcast

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A World of Difference
A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference

About your host

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Lori Adams-Brown

Lori Adams-Brown works in business technology and leadership development in Silicon Valley. She is an international speaker and consultant with over 20 years of global management work experience from living and working on 3 continents. Lori has brought a forward-thinking perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Lori’s current approach focuses on how diversity and inclusion is changing the face of major industries, a topic explored in detail in her podcast, A World of Difference. She also leads discussions and interviews global authors and thought leaders on the future of learning and the future of work. Lori helped start a grassroots community development nonprofit in Indonesia and served as Medical Director during the tsunami relief in Sumatra in 2004. Lori has served as Development Director to Echo Compassion, a Silicon Valley nonprofit community outreach organization, which she helped found. Lori has also written for the International Journal of Urban Transformation and spoken on Diversity and Inclusion at conferences in many cities around the globe. Raised in Valencia, Venezuela, Lori has lived in Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica and the San Francisco Bay Area. Lori is particularly well suited to see things from a global viewpoint. She has keynoted such international events as a worldwide webinar on Macroeconomics in Urban Strategy for the International Mission Board, and at conventions and churches in Singapore, Venezuela, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and all over the US. She holds a BA in both Sociology and Spanish and a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural Studies. Lori is on a mission to see people, families, communities, and nations thrive.