Leslie was raised by a single mother after her father was killed in a car accident when she was eleven. She learned from an early age to be self-reliant and to navigate life in unconventional ways.
Now, Leslie is ready to represent you. Her education and experience equip her to tackle some of our most pressing needs with firsthand knowledge. She understands the challenges and constant pressure that families in North Carolina face every day. Leslie will work tirelessly for the expansion of paid family and medical leave, enhancing workplace protections for parents, addressing the pay gap for women and people of color, and dealing with the crippling costs of childcare.
Leslie is blessed to have enjoyed a vibrant and robust education, despite not obtaining her bachelor’s degree. In addition to more traditional curriculum in high school, she learned typography, layout techniques, commercial printing and design skills. Leslie entered Emory University after 10th grade through their early enrollment program and continued her undergraduate studies for 4 years, attending University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University, gaining a world-class education that set her up for success for the rest of her life.
As she neared the completion of her college education, Leslie and her husband Jeff were blessed to find out they were having a baby. The best thing for their family was for them to start a business to support their newest little Cohen.
Leslie is a strong believer in the value of a good education and she is very grateful for the education that she received, even though she did not receive her degree. But she also believes that we need to address the ways in which women are not fully supported in schools, in the workplace, and in society in general. For most of us, trying to balance school, work, and a family can be difficult or even impossible. Many women find themselves having to make difficult choices about their own lives in order to improve those of their families. Many people share a similar path to Leslie’s – roughly 68 percent of Americans older than 25 do not have a bachelor’s degree.
Career and Family
Though their first business ended in bankruptcy, Leslie and Jeff didn’t let early adversity stop them from embarking on a second venture, this time a successful commercial graphics firm. They designed collateral advertising for Fortune 500 companies for twelve years before transitioning their business to fine art in 2002. Leslie’s paintings are now featured in collections across the globe.
While running a successful business and raising a family Leslie still found time to volunteer in her community and to work on issues she cares about. She found it important to teach her children that each of us has a responsibility to help those around us and to stand up for their beliefs.
Coming To Wilmington
In 2013, after her two children each moved from the family’s suburban Atlanta home, Leslie moved to Wilmington with her husband of 32 years, Jeff. The family has long ties to the area as Jeff’s grandfather built a summer home in Carolina Beach in 1933. That cottage is still the family summer gathering place.
Leslie became involved in local issues here when the passage of HB2 threatened the rights of their adult children. Her activism quickly spread into other issues as she became aware of the the struggles of others in her community.
Running for Office
Leslie will bring her bold entrepreneurial spirit, creative problem solving, passion for justice and equality, and compassion for others to the North Carolina General Assembly. We need leadership that understands and reflects the people they represent. Leslie is here to stand with North Carolina mothers, fathers, grandparents, and caregivers of all kinds. With your help, we will move North Carolina Forward Again!