Dr. Lia Tadesse was born in the capital city of Addis Ababa from a family in which both mother and father were in the medical and academic sector. Since she was a child Dr. Lia was passionate about becoming a doctor and she was among the only four women students at Jimma University. During her time Jimma University was one of the three medical schools in the country. Dr. Lia specialized as an Assistant Prof. in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In 2015 Dr. Lia got appointed as the new executive director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training at the University of Michigan.

Prior to her appointment Dr. Lia Tadesse has worked at Saint Paul Hospital as Chief Executive Officer. During her tenure Dr. Lia Tadesse was celebrated for her transformational leadership she has shown at Saint Paul.