Growing up in New Haven’s Inner city neighborhoods, LeKeesha overcame many obstacles. She knew that education was the key to escape poverty. Today she is proud to say, “Although growing up in the inner city was difficult, I was able to turn my experiences into opportunities for success.”
LeKeesha is a leader, entrepreneur and visionary. Women of Power Network is her way of setting the stage for female leaders of tomorrow. She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at the Leadership Education And Athletics in Partnership (L.E.A.P.) program; a nonprofit organization serving children in the inner city of New Haven, Connecticut. As a senior counselor, she had a powerful impact on 16 girls between the ages of 12 and 14. She inspired and motivated them to use education as a life jacket and supported their transition into colleges and universities throughout the country. This experience not only had a lasting impact on the students, but it changed LeKeesha’s life. She recognized her passion and love for helping young people reach their full potential and live productive lives.
LeKeesha had a strong desire to impact the lives of others on a larger scale. In 2005, she started a career with Pfizer Inc. Conducting clinical research trials; LeKeesha was able to continue her passion for improving the lives of others by helping to develop new medicines for patients living with life threatening diseases worldwide.
In 2011, LeKeesha decided to focus her passion on her first love of youth development due to her need to have a direct connection with the community and to see the immediate impact of her work. This decision led LeKeesha to pursue a Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) School of Social Work, with a specialized focus in community organizing. “This was the best career decision I could have made. I knew that my life would change as a result of this one decision.” LeKeesha knew that this was the beginning of a rewarding career. In 2008, months after obtaining her MSW, LeKeesha founded Women of Power Network, Inc (WOPN) to unite women and girls throughout Connecticut to address issues affecting their overall wellbeing. LeKeesha is most proud of their Developing Leaders Mentoring Platform (DLMP) providing mentoring services to public high school girls in Greater New Haven, Connecticut. “I encourage our students to create opportunities for success, develop their talents and transform their communities for the overall vitality and health of society.”
In the summer of 2011, LeKeesha was accepted into the Elm City Fellowship of the Anne E. Casey Foundation. Joining the fellowship has taught LeKeesha how to reflect on who she is as a leader and to understand the impact change has on individuals and communities. “I learned that being a leader is a balancing act between taking risk, sacrifice and loss. The fellowship challenged me to examine how to better serve my community by using effective results based models that will produce desired outcomes. These lessons have been critical in moving WOPN toward a broader more sustainable nonprofit serving Greater New Haven women and girls."
She also founded the social media outlet, WOPN-The Ugly Truth About... (click on title to learn more)!