Hing Wa Lee Group CEO David S. K. Lee, one of the most prominent Ferrari collectors in the world, has recently added a new role to his résumé.
On March 29, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Lee to the California Volunteers Commission, a state agency tasked with promoting service and volunteerism among Californians. This appointment, which offers no compensation and does not require Senate confirmation, highlights the entrepreneur’s dedication to making a positive impact on his community.
In a recent interview with NextShark, Lee expresses his gratitude for the appointment and discusses the significance of his new role.
“I’m a businessman, and I know that in politics, once you’re in the game, you’re no longer your own person. You’re run by the parties for the party that is supporting you,” explains Lee, who says he never saw himself as a politician.
He believes that by serving in a voluntary position like the California Volunteers Commission, he can still be himself, vote according to his values and influence positive change without being bounded by the constraints of party politics.
According to Lee, Gov. Newsom had been made aware of his community involvement and extensive experience in voluntary work, prior to his appointment.
Lee has actively contributed to various organizations and initiatives, including the University of Southern California (USC) Widney Society and the Young Presidents’ Organization – San Gabriel Valley Chapter. His involvement also extends to the education sector, where he serves on the USC Marshall School of Business Board of Leaders and mentors students in the USC Marshall School of Business Career Advantage Program.
Additionally, he plays a vital role as an executive advisory board member for the USC Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, as a chairman and founder of the David SK and Katherine Lee endowment program for leadership development at Flintridge Preparatory School and as a lifetime chairman and founder of the CEO Club.
When the governor personally reached out to him and requested his help in representing the community in California, Lee made it clear that he wanted to be on a commission where he could effect real change, rather than being a mere figurehead.
As a result, he was appointed to the California Volunteers Commission, a commission that addresses emerging and important issues, such as education, homelessness and disaster relief.
Beyond the significance of the appointment itself, Lee acknowledged the importance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation in politics and public service. He sees his role in the commission as an opportunity to amplify the voice of the AAPI community and advocate for their interests.
Being a part of the AAPI community, I’m definitely going to be looking out for our community as we don’t have enough Asian American representatives in politics as it is in California. So, to be in there gives us a voice at this level, at least. Whatever program that we come up with, I can also communicate that to our community. They are empowering me to do that.
In addition to his role in the California Volunteers Commission, Lee also serves on the Medical Board of California and the Film Board, both appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
“I’m having a lot of opportunities to be able to just impact in those areas in the entertainment area, medical area and that’s the greater California area,” Lee shares. “It’s an honor to be able to have those opportunities to do that.”
Lee, who began his Ferrari collection at 30 years old with a 355 Spider, now owns more rare gems such as the Enzo, F50, and F40, along with several F12s, 250s, 275s and 288s.
Despite his busy schedule, Lee still finds time to indulge in his passion for driving as he actively enjoys the driving experience, unlike some collectors who treat their cars as static art pieces.
I drive them often. That is also why I have such a kindred relationship and spirit with Jay Leno because we both like driving cars… The thrill and the visceral feeling of driving the car is something that, if you don’t do that, you’re missing out because that’s an equally important part of the experience.
Lee shares that he plans to further refine his collection by pursuing even rarer vehicles. For those aspiring to enter the world of Ferrari ownership, Lee offers valuable advice: seek limited edition models.
“I would suggest anybody that’s buying a collectors’ Ferrari to buy one that’s limited edition because that’s what’s going to get the value going up in the future,” he notes.
Despite his success in business and the world of luxury cars, Lee remains grounded and committed to using his influence and resources to bring about positive change in his community through his involvement in advocacies and initiatives close to his heart.
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