Jada Lee ‘21
Concentration: Anthropology, Secondary: Computer Science
Hometown: Edina, Minn.
Employer: Harvard Student Agencies
Jada Lee is the Managing Director of HSA DEV, the website/app development and design arm of Harvard Student Agencies. Previously, she worked at DEV as an engineer, project manager, and Head of Sales. She works up to 20 hours a week, sometimes more, typically in HSA offices on 67 Mt Auburn St.
Jada’s main responsibilities are to “set strategy, goals, and culture for all of DEV, ensuring that our departments work together towards the same mission.” She said that “this means knowing exactly what all of our engineers, designers, and project managers are doing, solving problems or redirecting people as things come up, but then also having an eye on where DEV will be 4 months from now.”
“For example, one long-term project we're starting is creating an engineering ‘Feature Guide.’ This guide explains best practices for coding and gives examples of common features we build so that future engineers can quickly refer to the guide rather than researching code themselves. We also hope to tackle more tech projects for other HSA agencies so that we can make their operations more efficient as well,” Jada said. She works with salespeople to source projects for the future, and she is constantly in contact with HSA’s senior management team to discuss making the business model more profitable and efficient.
Jada was originally drawn to the role because of her initial academic interest in software engineering, which she thought would lead her to a concentration in Computer Science. But her experience as a project manager over the summer informed her decision to move in a slightly different direction.
“I had a great time as an engineer and I do enjoy coding, but my experiences as a project manager at DEV really changed my mind. I realized that I absolutely love working with people because I'm passionate about culture-setting and being an approachable yet effective leader. My DEV experiences actually played a big part in me deciding to be an Anthropology concentrator too--why not work with and study people at the same time? In my current role, I spent 90% of my week simply talking to my teammates or clients, and I hope that in the future I can have a position similar to this,” she said.
Her love and skill for working with people has been informed by the mentorship she received from the former DEV senior management team, which she calls the “most meaningful” part of her experience with the group.
“All that I know about management and solving business problems comes from my predecessors. I've never had these types of mentor relationships before, and I had no idea going into HSA how much they would impact my life. For example, one personal skill I learned was how to give very honest feedback to people my own age and then help them grow from their mistakes. My former Managing Director imparted me with the mindset that leadership means growing the people around you as much as you can, and I hope to live up to this mindset this year,” she said.
Overall, HSA and DEV have completely changed Jada's experience as a Harvard student, and for the better.
“HSA and DEV mean the world to me...HSA gives me the opportunity to work with similarly driven, curious, and all around fantastic people who I would otherwise never meet in my classes, and I greatly appreciate the community I have here,” she said. “Exactly one year ago, I was a completely different person from who I am now,” and she attributes that change to her growth with DEV.