This month has certainly not been easy, but we here at Cerrell want to finish Women’s History Month strong by celebrating one woman who has shaped our firm above all: our late founder, Lee Cerrell.
Lee was a trailblazer for women in politics during the 1960s—she worked on national, state, and local campaigns with notable politicians, including President John F. Kennedy, former governor Pat Brown, former Speaker of the California Assembly Jesse Unruh, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
At a time when there were very few women in politics, especially at the executive level, Lee was a leader, organizing numerous major events and fundraisers in California for Democratic causes and candidates. Lee and her husband Joe even delayed their wedding one week per request by Vice President Lyndon Johnson to hold an event for President Kennedy’s campaign!
As she continued her work with Joe, her love and passion for those around her never diminished. As head of operations and accounting at Cerrell, Lee made sure her employees never missed a payroll—even if it meant her and Joe missed it themselves. She always said, “Take care of your people first,” and she did—Cerrell is still going strong, heading into our 54th year in business.
a trailblazer for women in politics during the 1960s...
Lee was a leader, organizing numerous major events and fundraisers in California for Democratic causes and candidates.
“Take care of your people first.”
Lee was a calming and stable force at Cerrell, holding the nuts and bolts together in its early days and beyond. Even in crisis, she remained calm as she guided the company through its ups and downs. Her employees and partners remember her as a generous and caring person in all aspects of her life and leadership.
Even today, the late Lee and Joe continue to make a difference in teaching civic engagement and politics to young people—in fact, a few weeks ago, we sent one of our interns to the Cerrell Leadership Sacramento Seminar where she got to learn more about Sacramento and California politics! Lee’s legacy also continues through the “Lee Cerrell Scholarship for Young Women in Government” at the East Valley Family YMCA.
Undoubtably, her passion for civic engagement put Cerrell’s name on the map, but Lee prioritized one thing in her life above all: her family and loved ones, considering them her biggest fulfillment in life.
Today, on the anniversary of her passing and to close out Women’s History Month, we celebrate her incredible life as an advisor, founder, mother, and pioneer.