Member Spotlight: Lee Dudka *77

Meet Lee Dudka, Graduate Class of 1977 and former President of the Princeton Club of Washington.

My background is anchored in a number of countries.  Born in Germany, I grew up in Brazil and was educated mostly in the US.  My parents and I were political refugees and that added one more dimension – on the plus side it made me a fan of (Brazilian and German) soccer, and gave me roles as soccer coach, referee and club administrator.

College at Rutgers let me pursue engineering and literature jointly, but even better, gave me a job in a major global pharmaceutical research office which stoked my giant interest in healthcare. I’ve been a pharma-healthcare IT adviser since, and this dominates what I do now and drives my next phase of work.

Princeton Grad School was my great “intellectual oasis” in the middle, spiking heady  interests and uncovering new ones.  From it, I moved on to teach college, work as a psychotherapist, coach business leaders and develop business strategies. (At one point, as I worked with a C-Level strategy team, I taught a course at NJ State Prison.) Much of this pushed me to work on “doing good” in healthcare, a critical area that’s truly complex.  So while I learned a great deal about analysis at Princeton, my longest-lasting impressions are lit up by great discussions.

I got involved with the PCW in the 90s; a bit after, I was on the Alumni Council, soon becoming a Committee Chair.  Much happened after. It was the dot-com era. We created a career networking process that helped many recover from the “jobs bust.” There was a hunger for this seen in our Net Nights, which we sprouted in 8 US cities and in Beijing. When we launched a Net Night in NYC, we had to “spread out” the program over 3 nights (200 people signed up).

At PCW, I saw ways to develop the alum community. There’s great satisfaction in bringing people together and infusing stronger bonds among them. So we convened parents, retired alums, mid-career alums plus recent grads and students. Using mid-size dinners, we extended that by putting Princeton and other Ivy Club alums together (37 tables filled up fast). Our events saw alums from the Class of 1940 (Yeiichi Kuwayama) all the way through the grad timeline. 100 of us toured Gettysburg Battlefield with Princeton Professor Jim McPherson (sold out 10 months in advance), and 240 alums joined us in seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors, thanks to many groups.

Time passes, Washington changes, but there’s much “linking up” left to do. I’ve launched the first of a series of alumni courses (led by faculty). In short, I like meeting top notch pros and learning from them so I can channel that into helping others.