Leslie Zenk

Name:  Leslie Zenk
Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class:  39
Title/Company:  Assistant Provost/University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Hometown: Olivia, Minnesota

Current personal or leadership goals: I am thankful for those in my life who have pushed me to lead. I want to continue to work to create the space and opportunity for others to be heard and to lead; to be intentional about tapping others on the shoulder and pushing them to see the leader within themselves. 

What advice would you give to current Leadership Charlotte participants? Be present. We all lead busy lives, but the gift that Leadership Charlotte gives is the opportunity to pause, reflect, and connect with others. Put down the phone, close the laptop, and accept that gift. 

What’s a lesson that you learned through LC that has stuck with you and why? Leadership Charlotte helped reinforce the importance of community.  LC introduced me to and grounded me as a part of the Charlotte community, and it also provided me with a network of people who have supported me in immeasurable ways.    

What would you like to see Leadership Charlotte alumni get involved in and why?  There is no one way to be a leader. I would like to see Leadership Charlotte alumni get involved in one thing they are passionate about, and then show up to do that thing.  Communities are built and decisions are made by those who show up.

 Favorite way to spend a weekend in Charlotte: My perfect weekend is a combination of productivity, relaxation and fun: crossing items off my ‘to do’ list while enjoying coffee at one of the great local coffee shops in Plaza Midwood, hiking at Crowders Mountain State Park or paddleboarding on Mountain Island Lake, dinner out with my husband, and attending a music or theatre performance in the city or at UNC Charlotte.  

Favorite nonprofit or community organization in Charlotte and why: My favorite Charlotte nonprofit is our local Girl Scout Council — Hornets’ Nest.  As a Gold Award recipient (the highest award in Girl Scouting, equivalent of the Eagle Award in Boy Scouts), Girl Scouts was instrumental in my childhood, pushing me outside of my comfort zone, challenging me mentally and physically, and introducing me what would become my favorite hobbies – hiking and backpacking. More importantly, it provided me with a leadership foundation built on collaboration and teamwork. 

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