Aase received his bachelor's degree in political science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. From 1986 through 2000, he was employed in U.S. politics and government at the local, state and federal level, concluding as press secretary for former U.S. congressman Gil Gutknecht. His earliest political forays ranged from field work to campaign management for a variety of Republican Party entities.
In 2000, Aase began work at Mayo Clinic as a member of its media relations team, becoming the team’s manager in 2004. Following a steady production of television news feeds and radio programs, he launched Mayo Clinic’s first podcast in 2005. Aase subsequently led Mayo in developing an extensive library of podcasts, blogs, a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. In 2008, he became Mayo Clinic’s manager for syndication and social media. In 2010, he became the Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media , a first-of-its-kind social media center focused on health care, built on the Mayo Clinic's leadership among health providers in adopting social media tools. This new Social Media Center was established with the collaborative assistance of Victor Montori, M.D., Mayo Clinic's Medical Director. To date, the Mayo Clinic touts the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube.
In 2006, Aase began his personal blog, which was renamed Social Media University, Global (SMUG) in January 2008. While the title SMUG is a tongue-in-cheek unaccredited “university,” the site is a genuine educational hub that provides hands-on experience using social media for lifelong learners.
In August 2009, Aase developed the SMUG Social Media Pyramid, a hybrid of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, to illustrate how microblogging sites like Twitter, social networking sites like Facebook and video sharing sites like YouTube should be combined with blogs to create what he called “a balanced social media diet,” complete with recommended “servings per day” at each level.
Aase also coined the term “MacGyver mindset” based on the U.S. television show that starred Richard Dean Anderson, as a recommended approach for organizations interested in becoming involved in social media. The MacGyver mindset emphasizes using free or low-cost social media, combined with existing resources and programs, to achieve high-impact results with little incremental costs, much as the TV character used resources at hand in his exploits.
Aase has presented before a variety of corporate and non-profit audiences, among them include: Blogwell Conferences (Chicago and Minneapolis), World Congress Consumer Connectivity Conference (Carlsbad, Calif.), Florida Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing (Orlando), National Cancer Institute Public Affairs Network(Philadelphia), Community 2.0 (San Francisco), Ragan Corporate Communications Conference (Chicago), New Media Academic Summit (Washington, DC), International Conference on Health & Science Communication (St. Louis), Lifescience Alley (Minneapolis), Carlson School of Public Management (Twin Cities), Public Affairs Council (Washington, DC), Health 2.0 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and the First International e-Mental Health Summit in Amsterdam, ePatient Connections(Philadelphia), Employee Services Management Association (St. Louis), American Society for Therapeutic Radiology 2009 (Chicago) and the 13th Healthcare Internet Conference (Caesars Palace, Las Vegas).
He has been the focus of traditional media and online publications for his social media leadership, including local ABC affiliate (KSTP), St.Paul-Minneapolis StarTribune, and American Express Open Forum where he was interviewed by venture capitalist and blogger Guy Kawasaki. A brief overview of interviews is provided below:
"Mayo Surgeons Use Twitter as Teaching Tool". ABC5 Eyewitness News. St.Paul-Minneapolis. 16 April 2009.
"Why Doctors Are Tweeting During Surgery". ABC Good Morning America. New York. 16 April 2009.
"Mayo Turns to Social Media to Reach Out to Potential Patients". St. Paul-Minneapolis Star Tribune. St. Paul-Minneapolis. 19 April 2009.
"How to Use Social Media: An Interview with Lee Aase of Mayo Clinic". American Express Open Forum. 23 June 2009.
"Social Media Smarts: Interview with Lee Aase". Online Marketing Blog. 3 August 2009.
"Mayo Clinic's Lee Aase: Simple Marketing in Action". Simple Marketing Blog. 13 August 2009.
"Social Media Case Study from Lee Aase of Mayo Clinic". Gaspedal's Business Blogging Blog. 14 October 2009.
"Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic: The future of health brands and social media". Trajectory4brands.com. 9 November 2009.
In addition to his public-speaking events, Aase is an active contributor and participant to a weekly forum conducted via Twitter called Healthcare Communications and Social Media, dedicated to sharing best practices, ideas, and solutions concerning social media use among healthcare stakeholders.