Dr. Lauren Lek

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Empowering Women in the Workplace
By: Nichole Naoum
From a B.A. in Literature to an Ed.D. in Educational Technology Leadership, education has been the career focus for Dr. Lauren Lek. As a lifelong learner, she continues to seek opportunities to connect her peers with the most innovative strategies for teaching and learning. Dr. Lauren Lek shares details about her role at Our Lady of Peace, female empowerment in the workplace, and much more.

Please tell us about your position at Our Lady of Peace
Nine years ago, I arrived at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace as its first lay leader. As the first Head of School that was not ordained, we balanced our traditional teachings with expanded options in genetics, theatre, robotics, laboratory science, technology, video production, ballet folklórico (and so much more). As the oldest and only remaining all-girls Catholic high school in San Diego, I take the position of Head of School very seriously. It is a job that brings me tremendous joy, as I look to support the lives and futures of 750 young women every year. Most recently, in thinking about the pandemic, I am so proud of how we have navigated these times, continuously providing in-person learning for our girls and supporting virtual learning options for families.

What role does faith and service play in your life?
Early in my career, I recognized I was unable to separate my faith from my role as a leader; they go hand-in-hand. Equally important, is the opportunity to give back as a leader in my community, such as serving on San Diego’s downtown Rotary Club 33. At Our Lady of Peace, as we have undergone recent renovations, we have looked for opportunities to reinforce messages of unity and service to others. Just before the pandemic, Our Lady of Peace became the first Catholic Institution in the world to create a permanent exhibit through the Butterfly Project, a tribute to the lives of young people who died in the Holocaust as well as a limited commissioned replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà, an exact 1:1 cast from the original sculpture.

How do you define female empowerment?
The need today is as pressing as ever for women to have a seat in the C-suite, in the boardroom, and in leadership positions around the world. When women and men work together, our world is a better place. Female empowerment is ensuring that young women are given the tools to recognize their innate superpowers in order to take flight on whatever journey they choose.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
It is sometimes hard to separate one from the other, as my family is as entwined with my role as Head of School as I am. Being a mother to my three children and guardian to my first cousin who attends Our Lady of Peace as well, is the greatest joy in my life. Together, my husband John and I, work to find a harmony between our roles in leadership, our volunteer work, and our passion for being fully connected to our family. Similarly, my work in serving on the Board for the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, allows me to give back to an organization that makes such a difference globally.

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Esteban Villanueva
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