Weili Cheng is the executive director of the Yale Alumni Association, a position she assumed in 2016. In this capacity, she oversees the alumni association’s various groups, sets the direction and tone for the YAA’s office and operations, operates as the department’s emissary to the larger university, and serves as the organizational go-to for all things Yale alumni.
Cheng has a long history of service to her alma mater. She graduated from Yale with a B.A. in philosophy in 1977. Shortly afterward, she became actively involved as a Yale volunteer, assuming a place on the YAA Board of Governors and rising to board chair in 1992 (serving until 1994). In doing so, she became the youngest and first female graduate of Yale College to hold that position.
In addition to her roles on the YAA Board of Governors, Cheng has served on the board and as president of the Yale Club of Washington, D.C., as chair of her Class Council, as an Alumni Schools Committee volunteer, a trustee of the Yale Library Associates, and on a number of university committees. Since 1994, she has served on the board of directors of Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., which publishes Yale Alumni Magazine. In 1997, Cheng was awarded the Yale Medal, the YAA’s highest honor.
After graduating from Yale, Cheng earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and embarked on a career as a litigation attorney in private practice and at the United States Department of Justice.
From there, she moved on to the Law Department of Marriott International, where she worked for 22 years in a variety of capacities, including as vice president and assistant general counsel for the international lodging operations division. She held a number of leadership roles while with the organization, including spearheading the company’s China entry strategy and serving as a member of various corporate committees relating to strategic planning, diversity, and women’s issues.
In 2007, Cheng became senior vice president and deputy general counsel of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. In that capacity, she oversaw all legal matters relating to the company’s operations. As a member of The Ritz-Carlton executive committee, she played an active role in shaping the company’s global business strategies and policies across the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Cheng and her husband, Brad Dobeck, live in New Haven and also in Arlington, Virginia. They are Yale parents, their son, Stephen, having graduated from Yale College in 2010.