Marian Lee

Master of Urban Planning
- 1995

Assistant City Manager/Chief Sustainability Officer
City of South San Francisco
Marian Lee

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

My professional experience immediately after Wagner for about 10 years (during my 20's) was in New York. New York has so many job opportunities - right out of school, I was able to get hands-on experience on the private consulting side, in public city and state agencies, and with local nonprofit organizations. My experience in New York City "toughened" me up and gave me diverse experiences which provided me with a unique professional profile.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

Wagner is a very practical school which provides the tools to enter the professional world. It was extremely helpful that many of the professors were practitioners (e.g. planning consultant, architect, agency department director) that brought "real projects" to the academic environment. The Wagner program gave me a solid appreciation for public service that has anchored my motivation and actions to my professional accomplishments, including my current job.

Describe your current job.

We are a city of ~65,000 residents and ~60,000 employees in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am the second person in charge of city administration. I support the City Manager in overseeing Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Library, Public Works, Economic and Community Development, Human Resources, Finance and IT. Our staff is about 500+. I direct special projects that are high priority, complex and require cross-departmental team work. Key projects include a $170M new community civic center, a $60M new train station, and $60M marina public amenity.