Rachel Leslie is leaving her position as vice president for external relations at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), effective June 30, to launch her own business. This new venture will allow her to continue working with community and government leaders to advance the College.
“It has been more than a pleasure to serve President King and the College allowing me to help others in our region, state and nation to recognize the importance of this liberal arts institution in West Central Indiana,” Leslie said.
Leslie joined the College in 2012 as director of advancement operations managing advancement programs with the goal of increasing philanthropic support. After several years, Dottie King, Ph.D., president of SMWC, sought to strategically expand the footprint of the College from a regional, state and federal perspective, thereby creating an external relations office. Leslie led that effort as vice president of external relations. The office includes grants development, auxiliary revenue, noncredit programs, community and government relations. The outreach has proven to be beneficial through grants, policy changes, navigating higher education regulations, and creating new and strategic academic programs.
In her new role, Leslie will work closely with King to continue to elevate the College. These opportunities include seeking academic programs that will help to meet the workforce gaps of Indiana, help identify new funding opportunities, and to work with community and government leaders to determine ways that SMWC can create an even stronger economic impact.
Also during her tenure at the College, Leslie earned the Master of Leadership Development (MLD) degree in 2014, and as a final project co-created the highly successful Wabash Valley Leadership Institute, now in its sixth cohort.
“I came from a strong business development background, working in the chamber of commerce profession for nearly eight years,” Leslie explained. “When I began at The Woods, I had a lot to learn about higher education. By working with the board, faculty, staff and students, and as an MLD grad, I have found a stronger voice and more importantly, a more purposeful voice.”
President King praised Leslie’s success in building strong relationships with government and community leaders on behalf of the College, and she looks forward to a continued relationship.
“Rachel came to The Woods as a leader and while here, she developed even higher levels of leadership and innovation,” said King. “Together, we will continue to inform and impact initiatives to advance our academic endeavors.”