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
My experience as a teacher convinced me that educational equity is a solvable problem. For 10+ years I worked toward this cause in the non-profit and public sectors, most recently as a senior leader in the San Francisco Unified School District. I discovered design while opening the district's Innovation Lab. Using a human-centered process to develop it put me back in proximity with the system's most important users: kids, teachers and school leaders. Through that, I realized that this proximity is where I do my best work. I knew I never wanted to be far from users again, and design put them front and center at every turn. My love for people, for creative problem solving, and for inclusive processes led an important conclusion: I wanted to be a designer.
3. Made a pivot to UX design
Since leaving the district, I’ve honed my craft as a user experience 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