Ray Jefferson

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Ray Jefferson
Ray Jefferson.jpg
Ray Jefferson in his official portrait with the US Department of Labor, 2009
EducationU.S. Military Academy
Kennedy School of Government
Harvard Business School
OccupationManagement consultant

Ray Jefferson is a former US Assistant Secretary with the Department of Labor for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).[1] He graduated from the United States Military Academy and served in the US army.[2] During a training session while serving as an Army officer with Special Forces, he lost all of his fingers on his left hand while attempting to protect his teammates from a defective hand grenade that was detonating prematurely.[3]

In 2009 he was appointed to his position at the US Department of Labor. He resigned in 2011 after an Inspector General's report concluded he violated federal procurement rules.[1] In 2019 the Inspector General reversed its ruling, stating the claims were unsubstantiated.[3] As of 2020 he worked as the president of a global leadership consultancy company.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jefferson's parents were public servants.[3] He was raised in Albany, New York.[4]

Military career[edit]

Jefferson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1988 with a major in leadership.[2][5] He served as an Army Officer with the infantry and Special Forces, as well as the US Presidential Honor Guard, 3rd Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group.[4] In 1999, he lost all five fingers on his left hand while attempting to protect his teammates from a hand grenade detonating prematurely during Special Forces training.[3] Jefferson recuperated from his injuries at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.[4]

Education and pre-federal government career[edit]

Jefferson obtained a Master of Public Administration in Strategic Management from the Kennedy School of Government, graduating with Distinction as a Littauer Fellow.[4][5] He also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and received the Dean's Award for exceptional leadership and service.[4][6] He served as a White House Fellow from 2000-2001 as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the Undersecretary of State for Management.[4] Jefferson then served as a Fulbright Fellow in Singapore studying leadership within Asian contexts.[6]

In January 2003 Jefferson was appointed Deputy Director of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.[4] In July 2003 Jefferson was awarded the Harrison H. Schmitt Leadership Award for dedication to public service.[7][8] He also worked in Singapore as a leadership consultant at McKinsey & Company developing leadership training and development programs for his clients.[9]

US Department of Labor[edit]

In 2009, Jefferson was appointed by President Obama as US Assistant Secretary for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) of the US Department of Labor.[10] At the agency, Jefferson pulled together a team to overhaul a program serving 80 percent of soldiers transitioning to civilian life to improve their readiness for gainful private employment.[11]

Jefferson resigned from his position as Assistant Secretary at the Department of Labor on July 25, 2011, following accusations that he violated federal procurement rules.[1][12] An Inspector General's report alleged that two whistleblowers reported that Jefferson directed VETS employees to award contracts to management consultant Stewart Liff at a higher cost than what could have been procured in an open selection process.[1] On September 26, 2019 the Inspector General reversed a predecessor's finding stating the accusations could not be substantiated. The government also agreed to pay some of Jefferson's legal fees.[3]

Post-government career[edit]

Jefferson is the President of Jefferson Group,[13] a global leadership consultancy based in Singapore.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Lambrecht, Bill (2011-07-28). "McCaskill criticizes Labor Department contracting 'boondoggle'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  2. ^ a b "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell Honors Two U.S. Veterans with First Harrison H. Schmitt Leadership Awards for Fulbright Alumni". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Davidson, Joe (2020-09-23). "He was forced to resign after a government report criticized him. Eight years later, the government took it back". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Governor Lingle Appoints Ray Jefferson as Deputy Director of DBEDT". 2003-01-27. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  5. ^ a b Abramson, Mark A.; Lawrence, Paul R. (2012-12-21). Paths to Making a Difference: Leading In Government. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-4422-2388-2.
  6. ^ a b Dawra, Preeti (2014-07-18). "Ray Jefferson Leading by example". LiveMint. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  7. ^ "Jefferson wins leadership award". Pacific Business News. 2003-07-28. Retrieved 2020-11-01.
  8. ^ Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell Honors Two U.S. Veterans with First Harrison H. Schmitt Leadership Awards for Fulbright Alumni". 2001-2009.state.gov.
  9. ^ "U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Veterans Services to Speak at Columbia University School of Social Work Commencement". Columbia University. 2010-04-05. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  10. ^ "Nomination Hearings of the 111th Congress: Part 2". www.govinfo.gov.
  11. ^ Igel, Lee (May 27, 2011). "Sports And Helping Military Veterans Transition To The Private Sector". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  12. ^ Vogel, Steve (28 July 2011). "Raymond Jefferson leaves Labor Department after ethics finding". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 October 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Leadership on a Global Scale". Harvard Business School. Retrieved December 9, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)