Denise was born and raised at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. Her mother is a Chinese immigrant who escaped communism in 1949, as the daughter of a two-star general who served under the command of President Chiang Kai-Shek. Her father is a Canadian immigrant who enlisted and served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. As a member of a proud military family, Denise has a special appreciation for the liberties that enabled her parents to achieve the American Dream. She also recognizes the personal significance of her favorite Bible verse: To whom much is given, much is required. This verse underlies Denise’s life-long commitment to public service.
Denise is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to starting her own public affairs consulting firm, she practiced law at K&L Gates; worked for a San Diego-based renewable energy company; and served as a presidential appointee at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a law clerk in the U.S. Senate.
In 2016, Denise ran for Congress, and as a first-time candidate, earned the designation of an NRCC “Young Gun,” along with 43% of the vote in California’s then-52nd Congressional District.
Denise writes and speaks on topics ranging from business to leadership, politics and faith. In 2018, Denise spoke as part of a six-city tour with Propel Activate, a national faith-based conference focused on developing leadership skills in women. She has spoken on the main stage at CPAC, delivered keynote addresses at political, religious, and business conferences, and written op-eds that have been published by local, national, and faith-based media outlets.
Denise is a regular contributor to Propel Women, an online outlet which reaches over 1,000,000 women. This fall, Baker Publishing Group will release her first book, titled Politics for People Who Hate Politics: How to Engage without Losing your Friends or Selling your Soul.
Denise is an active supporter of San Diego’s philanthropic and business communities. She was a founding board member of one of California’s sixteen Innovation Hubs, is a current board member of the Scripps Mercy Hospital Foundation and the Rock Church in San Diego, and previously served on the board of the San Diego chapter of the USO.
Nationally, Denise serves as a senior advisor to the board of mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based non-profit focused on transforming education; Ideos Institute, a Los Angeles-based organization that promotes empathetic leadership; Nomi Network, a New York-based non-profit that offers a market-driven approach to assisting survivors of human trafficking; The American Council, a Sacramento-based non-profit organization that supports faith-based political candidates; and VIEWPAC, a Washington D.C.-based political action committee that supports female candidates for Congress. She is also a member of the Teneo Network and the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows.
Denise speaks Mandarin Chinese, is an avid reader, and an Ironman triathlete. On any given weekend, she can be found strolling in her family’s vineyard with her golden retriever, running outdoors, or basking in the sun with a book.