A native of San Francisco and a proud product of its K-12 public schools, Betty Yee was born to immigrant parents who established a laundry and dry cleaning business in the Parkside District of San Francisco and operated it for 30 years. The second oldest of six children, Betty grew up speaking no English at home. As with her siblings, when not in school, she worked the counter of her parents’ business, interacting with customers and often translating for her parents with vendors as well as conducting the financial transactions for them. From minding the family business when young, Betty now minds the store for California as its Controller.
Betty is a proud product of the San Francisco public schools, crediting her skills to her junior high school English and Math teachers. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in public administration. Betty’s commitment to hard work and service were influenced heavily by her upbringing and strong sense of community. Her commitment to service and her experience working in the family business inspired her to enter public service so she may do her part to be sure the doors of opportunity remain open to Californians and their families to succeed and thrive.
Dedicated to attaining full civic participation by all communities, Betty has a strong commitment to mentoring and supporting women, youth, and those from our diverse communities of color who are seeking to enter or are pursuing opportunities in public service or elected or appointed office. Previously, she generously volunteered her time to serve on the board of directors of California Women Lead, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing leadership training, networking opportunities, and policy discussion forums for women serving in or seeking elected or appointed office and women leaders in the private sector. Betty also has participated in numerous leadership trainings and conferences that focus on preparing aspiring political leaders to run for office, such as those sponsored by EMILY’s List, the National Women’s Political Caucus-California, Emerge California, the Asian Pacific American Leadership Project, and the Women’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party.
To further give back, Betty served on the board of directors of the Cal Alumni Association at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her undergraduate degree . On the CAA Board, Betty was a leader in scholarship development activities to ensure financial hardship may be overcome so the Cal campus may reflect a diverse student body to enhance learning and deepen understanding of differing perspectives. She also is proud to have been the recipient of the Community Service Award from the Alumni Association of Golden Gate University, where she earned her master’s degree in Public Administration.
Betty models her commitment to service after her father, who served on active duty in the United States Army during War World II.