My mother introduced me to the American Red Cross. She was a long-time Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and insisted that I learn how to swim when I was a young child in Oregon. My earliest volunteer experience was in high school providing first aid at the Oregon State Fair (sound familiar?). During college I spent my summers as a Red Cross Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor and eventually taught CPR and First Aid.
The Red Cross was my way to connect with the community as I moved across the country. I was a Red Cross volunteer in North Carolina and Illinois before moving to South Dakota. It was the summer of 1993 and I was living in a small town hit hard by flooding during the July 4th holiday. That weekend I was introduced to Red Cross disaster relief when I opened a shelter for hundreds of people displaced from their homes. After that I was hooked on helping people impacted by disaster.
I've served in several leadership positions throughout my career including Chapter Executive for Northern Nevada in Reno and Deputy Regional Officer in the Mountain Pacific Region in Las Vegas. I moved to Des Moines from Las Vegas 10 years ago to serve as the Chapter Executive of the Central Iowa Chapter. The past three years I have served as the Regional Executive in Iowa.
As the Regional Executive I lead a team of paid staff and volunteers who ensure humanitarian services are delivered to those who need it, when they need it throughout Iowa.
I was born and raised in Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University, followed by graduate school at Washington State University. I live in Des Moines with my husband Steve Bennett, who is a Risk Management Consultant. I have two fabulous grown children, Sydney and Leland, and a Golden-Doodle, Zoe (she is very cute). In my free time I like to golf, DIY projects around the house, and cook.
Leslie can be reached on her mobile 1-515-240-1514 or at the Des Moines office 1-515-246-6305 or by email.