Barbara Lee, Founder and President

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Barbara Lee is a national leader in advancing women’s equality in American politics. She founded and leads the Barbara Lee Political Office and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

Inspired by her grandmother’s stories of suffragists marching on New York City’s Fifth Avenue in the early 1900s, Barbara has worked to elect women since 1998.

Today, through strategic advice, candidate training, direct support, and voter mobilization, Barbara has helped elect every sitting Democratic woman governor and U.S. Senator. Through the Foundation’s nonpartisan Governors research, she gives women candidates at all levels essential tools to meet the challenges of campaigning.

With an exceptional eye for emerging leadership, Barbara works to cultivate the next generation of women candidates. Through the Foundation, Barbara has endowed a nonpartisan training program for women at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an internship program at the Massachusetts State House for Simmons College students.

Barbara also organizes blockbuster events to raise the profile of women elected officials and candidates. Revolutionary Women, held in conjunction with the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, convened many of the nation’s best and brightest political minds to showcase women’s leadership. Women’s Senate, a biennial fundraiser, provides critical support for progressive women Senators.

Boston Magazine has included Barbara among “Boston’s Most Powerful Thought Leaders,” “The 100 People Who Run This Town” and is listed among their “50 most powerful women” in Boston. Women’s eNews ranks her among the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.” – Click here to see more.

An advocate for Boston’s cultural life and advancing women’s representation in contemporary art, Barbara is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. She earned a master’s degree from the Boston University School of Social Work and her bachelor’s degree from Simmons College.

Board memberships

Vice Chair, Institute for Contemporary Art Boston
Board member, No Limits Foundation
Member, Women’s Leadership Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

Select awards

Woman of the Year, Emerge Massachusetts, 2012
“Woman of Action” Award, Boston Women’s Fund, 2010
The “Wendy” Shattered Glass Award, Women’s Campaign Forum, 2010
Leader for the 21st Centry, Women’s eNews, 2009
Circle of Giving Award, New England Womens Leadership Awards, 2006
Abigail Adams Award, Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, 2002
President’s Award, NACW, 3rd Annual National Convention, 2002
George A. Dean Leadership Award, The Women’s Campaign School at Yale, 2003
Academy of Women Achievers, Class of 2002, YWCA Boston, 2002