Named one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television” by The Hollywood Reporter, Keli Lee is a transformational and innovative leader with a successful track record of combining her expertise and passion in business and creative with an industry leading vision for investing in diversity and inclusion. During her 25-year career in media and entertainment, Keli Lee has been responsible for redefining network television with her strategic, iconic and award-winning inclusive and international casting as Executive Vice President of Talent and Casting for The Walt Disney Company’s ABC Television Network and ABC Studios and for her impact on global television in her role as the Managing Director for Disney/ABC Studios International. In this role, she created, built and managed the operations of The Walt Disney Company’s first international TV studio division from start up to producing multi-season, award-nominated series within its first three years.
As the Executive Vice President of Talent and Casting, Keli managed all talent and casting operations, strategy and teams across all ABC Television Network series and ABC Studios content worldwide for more than a decade. Keli was responsible for casting award-winning TV series that drove global business value and mainstream culture such as “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Modern Family”, “Lost”, “Desperate Housewives” , “Scandal”, “Quantico” and recognized with a total of 260 Emmy® and Golden Globe® Awards and nominations in the Outstanding Acting Categories, including Viola Davis’s historic Emmy Award in 2015 as the first African-American actress to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series for “How to Get Away with Murder”. Keli Lee strategically recruited international talent to ABC Entertainment Group, bringing stars such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas (India), Sofia Vergara (Colombia) and Yunjin Kim (South Korea) to the network, leading to greater commercial appeal globally for ABC Entertainment Group properties.
In 2001, Keli created and launched the industry’s first of its kind talent diversity programs to better reflect global audiences for The Walt Disney Company. The now 20 year-old ABC Discovers is a trail-blazing suite of global, inclusive creative talent recruiting and training programs which “discovered”, mentored and trained over 500 diverse writers, directors and actors including Academy Award®-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, the late multi-award winner Chadwick Boseman, Golden Globe-winner Gina Rodriguez, Meghan Markle, Jesse Williams, Pedro Pascal, Randall Park, and Jermaine Fowler among others.
Keli Lee was awarded TBI Vision’s Contribution to Content Innovation Award in 2019. She was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television” in both 2017 and 2018 and one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business 1000” in 2015. She served as a board member of NATPE and Step Up Women’s Network, which honored her in 2012 with its Inspiration Award. She is also a mentor to the Korean government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and is a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, for which she received their CUP Catalyst Award in 2014. She is a member of the 2014 Class of Henry Crown Fellows at The Aspen Institute and a member of The Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Keli is a co-owner of the Chicago Red Stars, the US Professional Women’s Soccer Club and a member of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Four of their players played for the Bronze Medal award-winning USA Women’s Team in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and five of their players were part of the world-winning USA 2019 FIFA World Women’s Cup Team. Keli is an investor and Advisory Board member of Sen, a UK-based company with the world’s first 4k video streaming platform that could send video from space to billions of people worldwide. She is also an investor of HumanCo, Yumi, and circl.es among others.
Keli Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at NYU.