Chief Human Capital Officer
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Mary Lee Hannell is Chief Human Capital Officer for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The bi-state agency conceives, builds, operates, and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York/New Jersey region’s trade and transportation network. These facilities include America's busiest airport system, marine terminals and ports, the PATH rail transit system, six tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, and the World Trade Center. In her role as Chief, she leads a talented team who support the agency's human capital agenda by delivering compensation and benefits, talent management, recruitment and assessment, HR metrics, occupational health, EEO compliance, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Mary Lee also is responsible for a comprehensive labor relations strategy across 24 unions, including direct negotiations for 12 civilian and police unions. Of the dozen senior leaders who report to the Executive Director, Mary Lee has the distinction of being one of three women who currently holds a Chief role.
Prior to becoming Chief in 2013, Mary Lee spent 11 years in various leadership roles in the Human Resources Department at the Port Authority. From 1998 to 2005, she served as the Executive Advisor to the Chief of Staff/Chief Administrative Officer, coordinating agency services in the human resources, procurement, general services, and labor relations functions. As Assistant Director, she also led the agency procurement function to ensure a competitive and fair public procurement process. In 2007, she returned to Human Resources where she served as Director until she transitioned to her current role as Chief.
Prior to joining the Port Authority in 1987, Mary Lee spent seven years in the retail industry at Bloomindales in the corporate human resources function and as an operations manager, overseeing customer services in the Manhattan flagship store.
A graduate of Drew University with a B.A. in German language and art history, Mary Lee also is a Senior Professional in Human Resources, an IPMA Certified Professional–Executive Level through the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), and is certified by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in the area of collective bargaining.
She served as a member of the Certification Advisory Board for IPMA-HR, and is a member of the Governing Body for the New York and New Jersey HR Leadership Summit for several years. In 2013, Mary Lee was a National Association for Female Executives Women of Excellence Winner for her service to NYC following September 11, 2001. Mary Lee credits her success to the support she received from many mentors during her career and, in turn, mentors young women and men both within her organization and in the industry.