Lionel C. Johnson became president of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute in July 2014. His career spans more than three decades during which he has been a leader in international business, public policy, and economic development. He has served as senior vice president of the Initiative for Global Development, as vice president of Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, and as senior vice president of Public Affairs at Fleishman-Hillard.

Previously, Johnson was vice president and director of International Government Affairs at Citigroup and deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Development, Debt and Environment Policy in the Clinton Administration. He was also a senior advisor for Resources, Plans, and Policy to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and a member of the Department of State Policy Planning Staff. He served as deputy director of the Clinton/Gore transition team at the Department of State.

As a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, Johnson held assignments in the U.S. Embassies in Haiti, the Philippines and Kenya. He also served as special assistant to Secretaries of State George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III. Johnson was a senior program officer at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He was a graduate instructor of U.S. foreign policy and American politics at the City University of Manila, Philippines, and received his B.A. in political science from Rutgers University in 1982.

Johnson is a visiting scholar of the Program on International Relations of New York University. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Johnson also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Project on Middle East Democracy in Washington, D.C., the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.  He has two children, Alicia and Christopher.


Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

James is the former deputy director of Harvard Law School’s Program on International Financial Systems. James served in various leadership roles at Harvard Law School, convening global thought leaders for dialogue on international financial systems and developing executive education programs for regulators of securities markets. Previously, he held management positions in the mortgage and publishing industries, and at a healthcare company that utilizes food as medicine.

James holds degrees in literature from Boston University and sustainability from Harvard, and was a visiting fellow at the Center for Corporate Governance and Climate Change at the University of Chile, Santiago. He is passionate about small-scale organic agriculture and served on the board of directors at Stearns Farm CSA.

Executive Assistant

In my role as executive assistant, I support PPI’s president and help to ensure that the daily operations of the PPI headquarters are running smoothly. Additionally, I provide corporate secretarial support for the Board of Directors and its standing committees. For many years prior to PPI, I worked in the corporate secretary’s office of a national bank based in San Francisco. Subsequently, I held similar positions in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA before returning to the Bay Area and the legal department of another major national bank. I am a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

Finance & Administration Director

As Finance & Administration director, I lead PPI’s financial management and accounting function as well as administration of HR policies and practices. I also support the Audit and Budget & Financial Planning Committees of the PPI Board. I have experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Prior to PPI, I held several similar positions in California: chief financial officer/finance director for Notre Dame High School; chief financial officer/treasurer for Sisters of Mercy, Mercy High Schools; and finance director for the Sisters of the Holy Names. Previously, I was a senior consultant at Wells Fargo Bank, resource manager for the California State Automobile Association, and financial analyst for Delta Dental Plan of California. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of the East, a bachelor’s degree in Human Relations, and an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University. My current volunteer work includes service for three nonprofit organizations.


Senior Program Director

As Senior Program director, I lead the development, implementation, and management of programs for PPI members, working closely with the Program Committee, the PPI management team, and the broader membership. My professional experience, spanning a few years short of two decades, has focused on international policy and government affairs relating to the Asia-Pacific region, especially China. Before joining PPI, I spent 16 years in New York, where I held senior positions at a foreign policy organization and a brand owners’ association advocating global standards in intellectual property protection. Previously, I was a political journalist in Singapore during the Asian financial crisis. I have a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and am fluent in Chinese.

Shu Li
Program Director

My role as Program director at PPI started in March 2017. I focus on the development and execution of PPI’s programs and related initiatives. I also support the Program Committee of the PPI Board. Prior to PPI, I spent several years with the Markets Group, where I was the head of programming with its U.S. Institutional Group, developing content and recruiting speakers for investment conferences. Before that, I was an investor relations associate and later head of investor relations for the firm’s Latin American manager roadshow product. I have a finance MBA from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree from the University of International Business & Economics in Beijing, China, and I hold the CAIA designation.

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Program Manager

As Program manager, it is my responsibility to provide information and guidance to PPI members, as well as non-member program attendees, speakers and guests, to ensure a smooth and meaningful experience of our programs. I manage registration, coordinate travel and event logistics. Additionally, I provide administrative and communications support for the management team as needed. I am a local San Franciscan, committed to serving and  improving my local community. Prior to PPI, I was actively involved in the volunteer and youth development programs of the American Red Cross and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I am a proud graduate of San Francisco State University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree with a minor in Asian American Studies, and an M.B.A.


Technology & Design Director

As Technology & Design director, I focus on the tools, methods, processes, and structures for achieving PPI’s mission. I work in concert with the president and my colleagues in other PPI functional areas (programs, membership, finance, and operations) to ensure the effective and efficient execution of tasks and the clear communication of the PPI brand in all of our practices and products. Additionally, I provide staff support for the PPI Board of Director’s governance function. I bring to PPI two master's degrees and over 17 years of experience in communications, technology, and design-related roles with global nonprofit organizations based in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. I am delighted to apply what I have learned in these areas for the good of the PPI community and our team in San Francisco.