About Ray Jefferson
For more than three decades, Ray Jefferson has helped global corporations, premier non-profit organizations and government agencies to reach new levels of success by producing greater outcomes, setting higher aspirations and creating empowering environments. Ray’s experience serving in leadership positions and talent for creating customized transformational programs allows him to help clients build better leaders; transform team members’ mindsets, attitudes and behaviors; and achieve breakthrough results.
Ray’s dedication to helping individuals and organizations achieve their potential is based on years of experience in the military, government and private sectors. His interests have always focused on organizational change, inspirational leadership and peak performance. He is an outstanding speaker on these topics, has been profiled in numerous articles, and delivers leadership development programs in these areas for some of the world’s premier organizations.
Ray’s earliest practical experiences were gained at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he graduated with a major in leadership. He went on to serve as an infantry officer with leadership positions in the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Green Berets) and the U.S. Presidential Honor Guard.
It was while serving as a Special Forces A-Team leader that Ray lost all five fingers on his left hand while attempting to protect his teammates from the premature detonation of a defective hand grenade during a training exercise.
The incident brought a conclusion to Ray’s military career, but strengthened his passion for leadership, service and altruism, especially in situations where transformation or creating new entities is necessary. After recuperating from multiple surgeries, Ray earned a MPA (Master of Public Administration) in Strategic Management at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, graduating with distinction as a Littauer Fellow. Afterwards, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was recognized with the Dean’s Award for exceptional leadership and service.
Upon graduation from Harvard, Ray was selected as a White House Fellow and worked as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Ray then served as a Fulbright Fellow in Singapore, where he studied leadership within Asian contexts. Ray was then named as Hawaii’s Deputy Director for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), where he co-led the organizational transformation of a department of over 230 team members with a budget of $182 million.In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell selected Ray as one of two inaugural recipients of the Harrison H. Schmitt Leadership Award for Fulbright Alumni in recognition of his achievements and contributions in the areas of leadership and public service.
Ray went on to become a Leadership Consultant with McKinsey & Company in Singapore, where he created and delivered leadership training and development programs for clients and McKinsey consultants throughout Asia.Afterwards, he returned to the U.S. and reentered public service, being appointed by President Barack Obama as the Senate-confirmed U.S. Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training.
Today, Ray spends most of his time in Singapore and is a member of the Asia Society, the Fulbright Association, the NAACP, the Special Forces Association, and the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Ray was born and raised in Guilderland, New York, and considers home to be Honolulu, Hawaii.