Chief Imagination Officer and Co-Creator of KitchenKids! and president and owner of lms consulting, inc. Leslie has enjoyed an extensive career in the areas of organizational relationship development and transformational management for the past 30 years. Prior to establishing lms consulting, inc., Ms. Saunders served as Vice President of Diversity Management Services for the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, President and Chief Executive Officer for the nationally and internationally recognized Memphis Diversity Institute, Director of Pluralism Strategy for Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), Director of Midsize Cities Management Services, GSUSA. Associate National Field Center Director, GSUSA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kaw Valley Girl Scott Council, and Coordinator of Special Projects for the University of Kansas.
Leslie’s work in the areas of diversity and inclusion, organizational relationship and reputation management, and organizational and regional transformation have earned the recognition of the White House, the President’s Commission on Race Relationship, The International Labor Organization (an agency of the United Nations), the Conference Board, the World Future Society, the Society for Culture and Communications, and the Aspen Institute. Her diversity management processes and educational products have been written about in several publications, including, Winning with Diversity by Norris & Lofton; Bridging the Racial Divide by De Bois and Hutson; The African-American Marketing Council; and, the Pathways to One America in the 21st Century by The President’s Initiative on Race. The author of several articles focusing on the economic benefits of inclusive relationship management, Leslie is one of several authors featured in The Handbook on Diversity Management, published in February of 2003. Her awards include being named one of the Ohio’s 500 Most Influential Women, 2nd place prizewinner in the Fast Company/Johnnie Walker “Keep Walking” Contest, the Most Outstanding Northern Ohio Rainmaker, Memphis’s Women to Watch in the New Millennium, Women Changing the South, Pathways to a New America/The White House Commission on Race Relations and IBM’s Top 1% Not-for-Profit Managers. In 2005, Leslie was one of 2,000 women nominated from 150 nations for the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation’s Project 1,000 Women.
Leslie attended Stella Viae Institute of Rome, Italy and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas, where she majored in American Literature and African-American Studies. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA, where her research focused on the encoding and decoding of multi-cultural communications in assimilation-driven environments. Her work as a graduate student received recognition from the Professional Society of Culture and Communications and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
Leslie's current and former volunteer affiliations include the National Civil Rights Museum board of directors, The International Women’s Forum, The World Future Society, Action Without Borders, The Red Cross, the National Mental Health Association Nominating Committee, North Fulton County (Georgia) Charities, Links, Inc. and The National Center For Human Rights Education She serves as an editorial advisor for Grace Magazine and Northern Ohio Live Magazine. Leslie hosts a blog called "Ask Di Versity" and is also a published poet and composer/songwriter who’s music has been featured in off-Broadway productions, the Kansas City Women’s Jazz Festival and in commercials for Girl Scouts of the USA. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Leslie resides in Roswell, Georgia with her Labradoodle, Mr. Scrappy.
Areas of Expertise
Organizational Development & Transformation, Diversity and Inclusion Management, Diversity and Inclusion Speaking and Training, Organizational Relationship Management, Non-Profit Consulting, Innovative Creative Education
An idea worth spreading
KitchenKids! Inc. - where smart is the new cool. Based on the notion that the kitchen is the world's original Established in 2004 by a diverse group of parents and educators, the non-profit creates edu-tainment resources for children ages 5-12. In March 2011, KitchenKids! launched an eLearning website that now serves members in 15 States for an annual. fee of $5.00. The site promotes reading, writing, math, science, nutrition, fitness, cross-cultural appreciation, computer literacy & s.voter, youth empowerment, community engagement, responsible role-modeling and provides kids with an introduction to reading, writing and speaking 52 different languages It has earned the endorsement of nationally/internationally recognized educators and business thought leaders for its affordability and commitment to help grow kids into adults who think children, think frugal, think inclusion, think humanitarian and pay it forward. 100% of the funding has come from co-founders and friends.
I'm passionate about
Innovative educational reform that involves community-based non-profits, educators and children in the solutions identification and implementation processes
Talk to me about
Empowering & engaging kids in community transformation processes...identifying potential sources of funding and in-kind contributions
People don't know I'm good at
Developing & executing successful change models with limited resources...speech writing... empowering others to become leaders
My TED story
Friends and collegues have been encouraging me to join TED for years. My motivation for joining now was inspired by Adora Svitak's address regarding why adults need to listen to and learn from kids. I am personally and professionally committed to the notion that relationships are the ONLY human-generated source of energy on the planet and we need to value them and manage them well. After listening to Adora, it dawned on me that TED reflected a group of creative-minded people who are willing to listen to and share good ideas - regardless of the age, race, ethnicity and/or socioeconomic status of their source. TED is a network of idea engineers who know the world can be better and are willing to explore and exchange innovative ideas. I am joining because the people involved in TED's are creating a new source of energy that is feuling much-needed social change