Leslie Ann Howard is the former president and chief executive officer of United Way of Dane County. During her tenure as president, the organization grew from an annual campaign of $5.5 million to more than $16 million and transformed from a grant-writing agency into an organization moving the needle on social conditions. Her work with the United Way has extended to the Board of Directors of United Way of Wisconsin, as well as the Finance & Audit Committee of United Way Worldwide and chair of the National Professional Council of United Way Worldwide.
An advocate for collaboration and change in the health and human service delivery system, Ms. Howard has spent a lifetime working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. Her focus has included children; education; health, people with developmental disabilities; housing; neighborhood development; and diversity issues. Ms. Howard has spearheaded the Schools of Hope Initiative, which focuses on closing the racial achievement gap in Madison’s public schools, and the Dane County Health Council, which is working to provide access to health care for Dane County’s 32,000 uninsured residents.
Ms. Howard has served on the boards of American Family Insurance Group, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and Madison Area Technical College.
Ms. Howard was recognized by the Madison Chapter of the American Marketer’s Association as the “Marketer of the Year” and was a “YWCA Women of Distinction.” She was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal’s “Know Your Madisonian,” recognized as one of Madison’s most influential individuals and as one of Dane County’s top executives, and was featured as one of Madison’s “Women on Top,” all by Madison Magazine. Ms. Howard was also named to In Business “Executive Hall of Fame” and Madison Magazine’s “Best in Business.”
She received her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1976 from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1979.