1. Started as a teacher
Katie Couric was a childhood idol. Eager to follow her path, I studied journalism. A few internships in, I found myself less interested in telling stories and more interested in living them. Combining that itch with a lifelong commitment to service, I joined Teach For America and spent three years in the classroom.
2. Led public sector innovation
Teaching convinced me that educational equity is possible. For 10+ years I worked toward that goal, most recently as a senior leader with San Francisco Public Schools. I discovered design when I opened and led the district's Innovation Lab. Using a human-centered design process to create it put me back in proximity with education's most important users: kids, teachers and school leaders. This proximity is where I do my best work, and design kept that front and center at every turn. It gave my love for people, for creative problem solving, and for inclusive processes a home and led to an important conclusion: I wanted to be a designer.
3. Made a pivot to UX design
I've become just that! Since leaving the district, I’ve honed my craft as a user experience researcher + designer, learning from some of the best and working as a freelancer. I've taught design thinking workshops, facilitated design processes and R+D'd a number of projects myself. I recently took the leap to learn UX in the digital space through General Assembly's UX Design Immersive. I'm currently looking for a new company to call home!
“Leslie possesses a rare combination of skills and qualities that enable her to breathe life into an organization with remarkable speed and leave everyone with a feeling of accomplishment, connection and hope for what is possible. She is perpetually productive, generous and demanding, and she leads with a creative confidence that inspires her colleagues, superiors and employees to go above and beyond.”
Brian Fox | Former Direct Report + Director, SFUSD iLab