Speakers

Michele Lezama

Michele Lezama

President and CEO, NACME

Michele Lezama, began her role as President and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering in March 2018. Lezama has extensive experience in both university and corporate settings. She most recently served as a strategist for Purdue University’s, nationally recognized, Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and she was an employee of the University of Notre Dame in her role as executive director of The National GEM Consortium (GEM).

GEM is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing the number of under-represented individuals who pursue and receive a masters or PhD in engineering or science by providing full fellowships. Lezama is credited for creating a national program called GRAD Lab (Getting Ready for Advanced Degree Laboratory). GRAD Lab leveraged GEM’s national network of university partners to provide students with critical information on the STEM graduate application process and national funding opportunities. During her tenure at GEM, she strategically positioned the consortium for advancement by moving their headquarters from its 30-year home in South Bend, Indiana to the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She successfully positioned GEM as a stand-alone organization where she reported solely to the GEM Board of Directors.

Prior to GEM, Lezama served as Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), a 501(c)(3) student run organization whose mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. Lezama is credited for turning around the organization’s financial position from risking payroll to acquiring a new headquarters facility, tripling the organization’s capital position and creating a long-term investment structure.

During her tenure at NSBE the Board of Corporate Affiliates (BCA) doubled in size, significantly increasing contributions to the organization. Under Lezama’s leadership, NSBE received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awarded by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology. Lezama is proud of her engineering background, having held technical leadership roles with Home Box Office (HBO), a Time Warner Company, as their Director of Satellite Scrambling Operations and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) where she served as the Associate Director of Broadcast Operations and System Integration. 

Prior to her media career, Lezama held multiple industrial engineering positions, with increasing responsibilities, at IBM Corporation. Lezama credits IBM for building a strong foundation of integrity and engineering excellence in her first full-time engineering role after college. Lezama earned her BS in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University and both her MS in Industrial Engineering and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University. Lezama was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Pi Mu and is an alumnus of the NACME scholarship program, Robert Toigo Financial Services and The National GEM Consortium fellowship programs. Lezama is originally from New York City. She is married and has two daughters.