LiLi’s family emigrated from Taiwan to the United States when she was three years old. As a first-generation Taiwanese-American woman growing up in Seattle,” she says, “I understand the importance of language and culture to developing a strong identity.” This perspective, along with her family’s constant reminder to, “never forget who you are or where you come from” have strongly influenced LiLi’s life and career choices.
Early on, LiLi aspired to work in the health field, earning her BS from the University of Washington and attending Columbia University’s post-baccalaureate pre-med program. She says community service was always a part of her upbringing, which inspired her to pursue volunteer opportunities as an AmeriCorps member with the Seattle-Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority and a Peace Corps community health educator in Fiji.
These formative experiences offered LiLi the chance to learn how to engage communities in ways that were respectful, and that valued the strengths of local leaders and families. They were also instrumental in shifting the course of her career towards public health which “appealed to my values for taking a holistic approach of bringing people with diverse experiences together to develop solutions for complex issues.”
Following her time in Fiji, LiLi decided to pursue an MPH at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health before returning to her hometown.She worked with the City of Seattle Human Services Department as an evaluation coordinator and then as a grants manager on initiatives focused on juvenile justice prevention, neighborhood safety, and family services.
Through Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections Initiative,LiLi had the opportunity to engage with community partners along with linguistically and culturally diverse residents in South King County, working to understand local priorities and supporting community-driven solutions. For the past 11 years, LiLi served as a grants administrator and then as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, advancing educational justice programs and racial equity initiatives to improve outcomes for families and communities across Washington.
In joining Group Health Foundation, LiLi says, “I’m excited to be part of a team that is grounded in equity as a core value and centering communities furthest from opportunity. I’m also eager to return to my original passion of public health and truly work alongside communities in tackling health inequities across our state.”
Outside of work, LiLi likes to garden, read, and travel the Pacific Northwest with her core and extended family. She is also a dedicated gymnastics mom who happily cheers on her daughter from the bleachers.