GEO Staff Assistant for Programs
After high school, Leslie attended Stella Viae Institute, a small finishing school run by the Académie Française in Rome, Italy where she earned college credits in psychology, French, Italian, music, and art history. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas majoring in American Literature, African Studies, and French. After college, she returned home to Washington, D.C. where she founded the Take A Look Around, the nation’s first work-study summer camp for adolescent mothers and their children which was funded by the United Methodist Church. Leslie completed her M.A. in Cultural Communication Strategies at UCLA and returned to the University of Kansas where she served in a split position as assistant director of admissions and coordinator of special alumni projects. After two years in her university role, Leslie was hired as executive director of the Kaw Valley Girl Scout Council in Topeka, Kansas becoming the youngest executive director in Girl Scout history. Her council served 6,800 girl members and 1,500 adult volunteers in 14 northeast Kansas counties which included three Native Reservations. In her role as a Girl Scout executive director, Leslie received critical acclaim for advocating to seat Girl Scouts of the USA’s first girl member on the organization’s national board of directors, and IBM recognized her among the nation’s top 1% of non-profit managers. After three years at the council level, Leslie was invited to join the organization’s national staff where she served in several top management positions including national director of diversity strategy. She created diversity and inclusion programs that impacted more than two million girl and adult members throughout America and the work of 140 nations participating in the Girl Guides Movement across the globe.
Following her success with Girl Scouts USA, Leslie served as president and chief executive officer of the Memphis Diversity Institute which earned her recognition as a national model from the White House, the International Labor Organization (a component of the United Nations), and the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation’s Project 1,000 Women. Working with 60+ companies headquartered in the Mid-South such as Federal Express, International Paper, The University of Memphis, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola, Leslie’s successful approach to helping businesses understand the importance of economic inclusion was credited with increasing the area's new business development investments from $10 Million to $6 Billion within a four-year period. After Memphis, she was recruited to move her staff to relocate her staff to Northern Ohio where they successfully replicated their work with 50+ Northern Ohio corporations such as the City of Cleveland, the Eton Corporation, Joanne Fabrics, Fifth Third Bank, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University. After her first year in Ohio, Leslie was voted Northern Ohio’s leading Rainmaker by her business peers.
Leslie moved to the Atlanta area in the early 2000s where she opened her own consulting firm and served as a principal external diversity consultant to the executive leadership teams of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Charter One Bank, and The College Board. She also taught a core course in Kennesaw State University’s Public Administration Master’s Program and developed a children’s eLearning program that was used in 14 states and four different nations within its first four months of operation. Although she had no training in web development, her efforts in this area resulted in her being a finalist for the international Purpose Prize which Leslie fondly refers to as the MacArthur Award for people over 60. Leslie retired from retirement three different times before beginning her Duke career at the ripe young age of 70.
Primary Responsibilities: Administrative support for Duke in New York (semester/summer), Duke in Los Angeles (semester), Duke in Russia/Estonia & France (semester), Duke in Kunshan (semester), Duke in St. Petersburg (Semester), Duke in London (summer), Duke in Silicon Valley (summer), Duke in Oxford (summer), Duke in Tunisia (summer), Duke in Seoul (summer). Experiential Education consultant to Undergraduate Education’s Anti-Racism Working Group.