A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Mona Lee Locke is a former national television journalist and dedicated advocate in the fight against breast cancer, serving as the national operations director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
She is known as a dynamic champion of issues related to children and families, with a special emphasis on early learning. Locke founded and served as board chair of the Foundation for Early Learning, which provides capacity building grants, technical assistance, and early learning information to help ensure children are ready for school. She also served on the board of directors of Thrive by Five and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
She became Washington’s 20th First Lady on January 15, 1997, when her husband, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, was inaugurated as governor of that state.
Locke coproduced and narrated an award-winning PBS documentary on early childhood education in China based on a cultural exchange trip she led to that country. Her delegation included 50 teachers, childcare providers, and parent educators from five Pacific Northwest states.
She continues to put her journalism background to good use, hosting an online talk show for the U.S. State Department. Locke told a Portland, Ore., news show that its aim is “to help explain what our culture’s all about,” adding, “I think when we understand each other, we will build better and stronger relationships.”