director of community and economic development
City of New Orleans
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Ellen M. Lee serves as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of New Orleans. The Director serves as an advisor to Mayor LaToya Cantrell and provides policy direction, management, and oversight of the department’s programmatic initiatives and administrative activities to provide solutions at the intersection of business, workforce, housing, and cultural needs. Ms. Lee returned to the public sector in 2014 after serving nearly six years as Senior Vice President of Programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation where she was responsible for the programmatic and grantmaking activity of the community foundation serving New Orleans and its 12 surrounding parishes. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Ms. Lee held the position of Assistant Director of the Disaster Recovery Unit (DRU) within the State of Louisiana's Office of Community Development, responsible for administering federal funds to assist in the recovery of southern and coastal Louisiana following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Ms. Lee is twice a graduate of the University of New Orleans holding Bachelor of Science in Finance and Master of Business Administration degrees. She has also served on the Department of Management Faculty at UNO. Ms. Lee holds a certificate from the National Preparedness Leadership Institute at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She serves in leadership roles on multiple boards of directors of national and local civic and service related organizations including the Center for Community Progress, Total Community Action, and the Catholic Foundation of New Orleans.