Published on January 12th, 2014 | by thevyne7
Woman to Watch: Leslie Gordon
Twitter Handle: @LeslieWritesNow
Facebook Page: Leslie Writes
Instagram Handle: @aloha_blue_i_write
Hometown: Chicago & the Big Island of Hawaii (Kona)
Current City (if different): Detroit Area
Degree(s) and Alma mater(s): B.S. Advertising/Communications – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.S. Humanities – The University of Chicago
Occupation: Entrepreneur & Author, Owner of LeslieWrites, LLC, Marketing & Public Relations Firm. In short, I have written a book that I am very proud of, contributed to two anthologies, have written magazine articles, corporate speeches and content for many company websites. In addition, I provide senior-level counsel to businesses and non-profit organizations. I craft and execute public relations, marketing and corporate communications strategies with intellect, integrity, substance and style.
Roles you play in life:
1) Mom of three very cool “kids” – Stephen (22), Taylor (20), and Landon (15)
2) Wife of Broadcast Journalist, Ed Gordon
3) Writer/Blogger (though I need to find the time to do lots more writing for my blog and website!)
4) Foodie who loves many types of cuisine – I drive my family crazy because I am always trying new recipes that I find in cook books, online and in my favorite culinary magazine, Bon Appetit. Some of these dishes turn out fantastic and some are a complete nightmare. Oh and I suck at baking. Period.
5) Athlete/Marathon runner – I have run eleven marathons (26.2 miles) from Los Angeles to Paris, France and ten half marathons. I am also training for my first triathlon scheduled for May, 2014. Pray for me y’all because swimming more than a few laps in a pool is a real challenge for me!
6) Servant leader – I am member of The Renaissance Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Giving to others is incredibly important to me. I have gained so much from the people in my life, how could I not pay it forward?
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My mother, Paulette, who’s also one of my best friends and biggest inspirations, told me early on to be smart, be unapologetic and to be courageous in going after what I want in my life and to not let anything or anyone stand in my way. I have a tremendous amount of respect for my mother, a social services professional with 25 years of child welfare management experience. She is always supportive and always there when I need her. She has guided me all my life and also taught me to appreciate life and a good martini! And my mom likes to have fun… so I get it honest!
What is the biggest career risk you’ve made? How did that work out for you?
My biggest career risk was starting my own business in 2010. I have worked in marketing and PR for a very long time for advertising and communications agencies where I led accounts and worked on such brands as McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Allstate Insurance and Walt Disney World. I also spent a good part of my career on the not-for-profit side working for the University of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League. When I moved from Chicago to Michigan in 2010, I decided to take a leap of faith and work for myself with the Chicago Urban League as my first client (I transitioned from senior vice president of the Chicago Urban League to a senior business consultant when I moved to Michigan). Leaving a corporate environment to start LeslieWrites, LLC was so liberating but it was also scary as hell! Thankfully, I have had a lot of positive people in my corner, encouraging me and helping me forge new relationships and win new business. Working for myself is a decision that I am so proud of and I have no regrets. I have learned a lot about myself as an entrepreneur and business owner, and this journey has shown me what I’m made of. I rely on my mother’s sage advice all the time as I develop long-term plans for LeslieWrites.
In the end, here’s what I realized and I hope your readers will appreciate this: Fear is a beast! It consumes so many people and stops them from taking risks to pursue their passions. I decided not to live in fear and I knew I had the smarts, the relationships and the wherewithal to go out on my own and I haven’t looked back.
Tell us about your book. What is it called and what is it about?
Dare To Be Extraordinary: A Collection of Positive Life Lessons From African American Fathers is about extraordinarily successful African American men and women and the many ways in which their fathers inspired and influenced them to achieve greatness. I interviewed cultural icon and master entrepreneur, Russell Simmons; Good Morning America Anchor, Robin Roberts; Wall Street Investment Executive Featured on the Forbes list of 20 Wealthiest Blacks in America in 2009, Tracy Maitland; former US Congressman, Harold Ford, Jr.; former NBA star, Allan Houston; Author and daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz; Civil Rights leader, Andrew Young, Jr.; the first African American female CEO of Sam’s Club, Rosalind Brewer; and many more.
Through the personal stories of twenty people, the book breathes life into one of today’s most compelling familial and social issues: Fatherhood in the African American community. In-depth discourse allows these business leaders, cultural icons, athletes, politicians, activists, doctors, newsmakers, and some of the best and brightest minds of our time, the chance to share—with honesty, wit and intellect—lessons learned from their fathers. Dare To Be Extraordinary recognizes and honors the wisdom and teachings of African American fathers passed down to both sons and daughters who took those lessons to heart and have led extraordinary lives. Each poignant story provides a roadmap to success for families and individuals from all walks of life.
The key message in the book is that all fathers need to play an active role in the lives of their children in order for them to grow up to be successful men and women. Fathers should be celebrated and the need for them to be present should be reinforced 365 days a year, not just on Father’s day. As we know, a father’s presence — or his absence — deeply affects our youth and the choices they make in life.
How can we purchase your book?
Finish this sentence, “To feel more centered I…” Work out and eat right. Period. Staying fit and eating as clean as I can are two areas of my life that demonstrate my commitment to myself and my health. I am in the business of being the best version of myself I can possibly be. God has blessed me with so much. How can I not honor Him by trying to be my absolute best? So, I run, I lift weights, and I do Bikram Yoga, typically working out five to six days a week. I am committed to being healthy and fit and on the rare occasions when I can’t work out, I am off-center and a little crazy. LOL My husband and kids know right away when I haven’t worked out for more than a few days because I’m a little snappy and irritable. They BEG me to get out and run!
What is your favorite travel destination?
Paris, France. A beautiful, alluring city. I hope to get back there one day soon (Big hint for my husband!) LOL
What three things can’t you live without?
Running, writing and my family, not necessarily in that order.
What is the last thing you purchased that you adore?
Really beautiful hand-crafted jewelry from an incredibly talented jewelry designer named Joyce Williams. Her designs are one-of-a-kind and they are exquisite. I feel like The Queen of Everything in my new jewelry!
What words do you live by? Kick ass in everything you do and live life with integrity and class. You’ve got one life to live and one chance to honor God, your family and yourself. Do you!!!!!!!