Feeding the Mind, Body and Spirit
Overcoming fear with faith, Joyce Lee provides physical and spiritual sustenance to others
By Justin Walker
Joyce Lee, BBA ’93
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Of the many things Joyce J. Lee learned from her parents, limiting her potential was not one of them.
Born in South Korea, Lee was raised in a Christian household. When her family took vacations, it was often to participate in vacation Bible school or lead Bible studies. During the fourth grade, Lee’s family moved to Houston.
Once in Texas, Lee’s parents, David and Grace, decided to open Calvary Korean Baptist Church. For more than 35 years now, the church has served Korean-speaking Christians in the Houston area.
“The thought process behind it was to bring Korean-speaking congregations to a Bible-based, Bible-driven church,” Lee said. “I was heavily involved in developing that community. There were a lot of hands-on opportunities to participate in and contribute to the growth of the church.”
Grace and David, Joyce’s parents
When Lee was not helping out with church activities, she was invested in her studies. Her parents deeply valued their children’s education and instilled in Lee a similar mindset.
“For my parents—especially as immigrants—education was crucial,” Lee said. “Not only in quality, but having an education that is more God-centered versus just enhancing your academic knowledge.”
Her parents found that in Baylor. Lee’s brother, W. Dan, began attending Baylor in 1983, soon followed by her older sisters, Charlene and Julia. When it came time for Lee to go to school, it was an obvious choice.
Lee studied Information Systems and Real Estate through the Hankamer School of Business, earning her BBA in 1993. She appreciated the academic rigor Baylor offered, as well as the resources and support system available.
After completing her degree at Baylor, Lee earned an MBA from Jacksonville University. She began working at CSX Corp. As an assistant director of Electronic Commerce & Projects in February 1995, which kicked off a successful career that saw Lee shift across several industries, including IT, transportation, human health and animal health.
In January 2022, Lee took over as president of Cobb-Vantress, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods. She is excited about the possibilities this opportunity opens for both her and Cobb.
“As the foundation of the poultry supply chain, Cobb plays a critical role in helping feed the world with healthy, sustainable and affordable chicken,” Lee said. “I am honored to be a part of the industry that makes a significant difference in our society.”
Outside of work, Lee continues her parents’ tradition of valuing education. In 2014, Lee and her husband, Brian, established the David Yongbong Lee and Grace Kyungja Lee Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baylor targeting students who have a parent in the Christian ministry or are preparing themselves for a career in ministry. It was a way for Lee to honor her parents’ commitment to serving God while giving students the same educational opportunities she received.
Lee has noticed many of the college students she visits with are anxious about their careers. Her advice is to not let the fear of the unknown stop you from jumping at incredible possibilities, even if they are far from what you imagined for yourself.
“It may not work out the way you expected, but look at life in a holistic way,” she said. “Remember the basic core principles you learned in your education and upbringing, and apply that to your career. Just don’t be afraid of the opportunities.”
Through it all, Lee never once doubted her abilities to succeed at her various roles. She credits her parents with instilling a Christ-centered fearlessness in her that has guided her to where she is now.
“Philippians 4:13 says, ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,'” she said. “I am never going to limit myself as to what I can do. That is what has made me successful in my career.”
Baylor Business Review, Fall 2022