Rana Lee, 2021 Conservation Cup Host Committee co-chair

From the first time she participated in the Conservation Cup, Rana Lee has been a big booster of the Foundation’s major annual fundraiser.  Supporting the Cup allows her to combine two passions: her love for golf and supporting young people. Because of that, we know she can’t wait to hit the green at this year’s 10th annual Conservation Cup. In meantime, she’s one of three co-chairs working hard to make the event a success.

Recently, Rana took time to answer a few questions put to her by Foundation communications manager Cassandra West. Here’s the conversation:

How did you learn about the Foundation and the Conservation Cup?

Claire Williams, past Conservation Cup Host Committee co-chair and ardent supporter of the Foundation, invited me to the very first Conservation Cup in 2012. From start to finish, the energy was great. I remember the buzz of excitement as people were checking in and the huge number of people who stayed for the BBQ. Best of all was the quality and beauty of the golf course – I didn’t even know that the George W. Dunne National Golf course was part of the Forest Preserves.

Why do you support the Conservation Cup?

As a kid growing up in the city, our postage stamp backyard was my connection to the outdoors. My family went to the Forest Preserves often to play, celebrate and explore in what I thought was a “bigger backyard.” I saw live frogs for the first time (terrifying), walked on fallen trees and picked flowers. I support the Conservation Cup for the kids. I want all kids to be able to access and enjoy nature. The Forest Preserve Foundation programs offer incredible youth learning and leadership opportunities.

Why is a golf tournament a cool way to raise funds for the Foundation?

The Conservation Cup is a terrific way to enjoy the Forest Preserves and support youth programming – while playing golf. The event never ceases to delight and is an annual favorite amongst golfers of all playing levels. There is something for everyone.

What are your goals for this year’s Conservation Cup?

Aside from our fundraising goals to support the Conservation Corp program, we want everyone to have F-U-N! Given that 2020 was challenging for so many of us, we want to provide golfers with a beautiful day in nature. We want everyone to laugh heartedly and leave with fond memories…and of course, come back next year.

Share a bit about our professional background.

I’m Director of Business Development and Principal at SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms. In short, I drive business strategy and market share growth for SmithGroup’s higher education, healthcare, science technology and corporate commercial markets for the Chicago office. Throughout a 25-year career, I’ve been an active leader in civic and professional organizations such as the Chicago Central Area Committee. When I’m not thinking about clients, you can find me on the golf course imagining the perfect shot, while at the same time mentoring a young female caddy.

Do you have a favorite preserve or outdoor activity?

During the pandemic, the Chicago Botanic Garden was my saving grace. I loved going there early mornings to walk the paths and discover something I hadn’t seen the week before. While the path was always the same, the scenery was different every single time.

Tell us about your golf game.

#LPGA oneday #pipedream


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