LAEDC’s New Chair Jodie Lesh Shares Priorities for Year Ahead

Welcoming words from LAEDC’s 2017-2018 Chair, Jodie Lesh, SVP National Delivery System Strategy, Planning and Design for Kaiser Permanente.

In past LAEDC blogs, I have discussed that while access to quality, affordable health care is critical to achieving good health, we cannot make the strides in community health improvement we should aspire to without addressing upstream social, economic, and environmental determinants of health. The LAEDC’s mission to advance opportunity and prosperity for all is linked in very important ways to the overall health and well-being of our communities. In my new role as Chair of the Board of Governors for the LAEDC, my intent is to continue to support the LAEDC’s vital role in creating avenues for economic growth and regional prosperity, especially within those communities that have faced economic challenges and uncertainty, and thus, disparities in health outcomes that we must address together as a community.

The 2016-2020 Los Angeles County Strategic Plan for Economic Development, PropelLA – a plan the LAEDC fully supports and is organized to help implement – targets investing in people to provide greater opportunity, strengthening our industry clusters, increasing global connectedness, accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a more business-friendly ecosystem, addressing infrastructure development, and building more livable communities.

I see this as shared responsibility of our business, non-profit and community leaders — a true opportunity for collective impact.

We can make meaningful inroads in creating healthy, vibrant communities.  It starts with business development by growing industry clusters that create well-paying jobs. It includes workforce development – linking colleges and vocational training with industry to create effective workforce pipelines.  It means unleashing the potential of our County’s assets, such as under- and undeveloped land.  These are targeted LAEDC initiatives and the areas I plan to champion in the upcoming year as Board Chair. At Kaiser Permanente, I have been passionate about creating opportunities for economic advancement of our communities, with a focus on small business growth in economically challenged areas and job creation through the development of our new medical facilities.  So, as you can see, my role at the LAEDC and Kaiser Permanente are well aligned and will herald wonderful synergies in the months ahead.

Through shared accountability and aligned action, organizations like Kaiser Permanente, the County of Los Angeles, the LAEDC and other non-profits and private business can coalesce resources, expertise and passion to achieve the goals outlined in the Countywide Strategic Plan and ‘lifts all boats’.  Our communities will benefit as we seek to find the intersection between doing well and doing good.

I am so inspired by the LAEDC’s commitment to the County of Los Angeles – its communities, the people who live and work here, and its position as a major global economic engine.  Bill Allen, LAEDC CEO, his leadership team, our Executive Committee, and our Board of Governors have created the environment for all of us continue the important work of ensuring a thriving LA County, where both the wealth, and health, of our citizens is among the greatest in the nation.

I especially want to thank Chris Martin – our outgoing Board Chair.  Not only has the LAEDC achieved great success under his leadership, but also, I’ve learned a great deal from him as Vice-Chair that I will take into my new role. Chris and his firm, AC Martin, are an inspiring example for all businesses through their commitment to creating jobs and critical infrastructure across our region.

I look forward to the many events where I will have the opportunity to meet and work alongside you, the members of the LAEDC. Please feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts and suggestions as we continue to pursue our organization’s purpose — to raise standards of living for all LA County residents by increasing economic opportunity and regional prosperity.

Best Regards –

Jodie E Lesh



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