Featured Colleague: Sally Leslie’s Diverse Background Helps Reshape Valencia’s Professional Development

By Wendy Jo Moyer

Originally from London, Sally Leslie, coordinator, employee development, trained as an English and drama teacher at University College London — Institute of Education. She began teaching in some of the toughest schools in South East London and later moved into higher education in the United Kingdom.

In 2001, she emigrated to the United States, where she taught underserved populations in New York City for 16 years. While still teaching, Sally served as director of institutional effectiveness for DeVry University in New York for six years until moving to Florida and bringing her experiences to Valencia.

In her role at Valencia, Sally plays an integral part of the Employee Development team, coordinating programs and projects that support development, performance, employee recognition and inclusion.

“I’d describe my role as a connector of people, projects and progress, while promoting an environment of inclusive excellence,” Sally explained. “My message is — we are all different versions of one another — this is where we find connection to our colleagues and the work — and, ultimately, to our students.”

Sally’s diverse experiences prior to Valencia provide an excellent foundation for her work of inspiring and training our employees, while encouraging an inclusive environment.

“Sally inspires me with her creativity, insight and a deep commitment to serving all employees,” shared her supervisor, Deanne Abrams, director, employee development. “Our team consistently looks to her because of her background in a broad range of experiences. She is an avid reader and knows something about every topic we discuss, so she hands you the book which can help you explore it further.”

For example, watch Sally’s video from April 2017 on one of her favorite reads, “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.”

Sally took that book to heart and found her passion in her work, designing and facilitating professional development workshops, coordinating and writing for the Supervisor Segment, Valencia’s supervisor newsletter, and redesigning and planning the Supervisor Summit, an event for Valencia supervisors that provides them the opportunity to learn, explore and discuss the latest tools and resources for their team’s development.

“I think one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of since starting with Valencia in May 2016 are the relationships I’ve been able to form through listening and taking the time to meet people, hear what their needs are and see where we can support their work,” Sally shared. She used that feedback to redesign the Summit, as well as to develop in-house, inclusive excellence programs with her Employee Development colleagues, such as redesigning the Safe Zone workshops.

Since joining the Valencia team, Sally is inspired by her colleagues. “In Employee Development, we are a diverse team in nearly every way you can imagine, and we revel in that diversity — this is the essence of inclusion,” she explained. “This is something that I think many institutions aspire to, yet few truly achieve.”

She also likes the freedom at Valencia to create and the openness of our employees to share and collaborate on ideas. “Being able to link our work to an over-arching strategic plan, which is accessible and formed around care and consciousness is awesome,” she stated.

She added, “So often, I am talking with my partner over dinner, or simply people who live in my neighborhood, and I hear, ‘… that person goes to Valencia’ or ‘… they want to go to Valencia…’ and it makes me so proud. I think people see Valencia as a rigorous institution that is a place to aspire to be; a place that will take you where you want to go and also a place that cares.”

Some fun facts about Sally — she attended the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in England and has also acted in and sung in stage shows in the United Kingdom.

In addition to her Bachelor’s Honors Degree in English from Middlesex University London, she earned a master’s degree in English (20th-century, post-modern literature) from Kingston University London and a post graduate certificate of education: English and drama teaching from the UCL Institute of Education. In her free time, she likes writing, spending time discovering new places, movies, reading, spending time with her family (which includes her partner, her godson and their two elderly dachshunds) and travel.

“My grandmother always said that travel is the best education and — as an educator, I agree.”

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.


  • Ryan Kane said:

    Great article! Sally, I'm so glad that you're part of our team!

    AMWed, 17 Jan 2018 07:30:25 +0000Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:30:25 +0000am18,7:30 am

  • Warda said:

    A great article about an amazing colleague! Sally always has great insights during a conversation. I'm glad we get to work with her at Valencia — way to go! 🙂

    AMWed, 17 Jan 2018 08:53:38 +0000Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:53:38 +0000am18,8:53 am

  • Marsha Clarke said:

    Great article on a great person. Sally, thank you for being so awesome!

    AMWed, 17 Jan 2018 09:12:50 +0000Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:12:50 +0000am18,9:12 am

  • Samantha Roman said:

    What a fun experience to read this article and get to know a little more about you, Sally. We are so lucky to have you here at Valencia!

    PMWed, 17 Jan 2018 14:13:28 +0000Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:13:28 +0000pm18,2:13 pm

  • Christina Foreman said:

    Sally is a delight to work with. We've had the pleasure of collaborating with her as she has facilitated a handful of trainings for the Professional & Continuing Education team. Valencia is fortunate to have her on our team!

    PMWed, 17 Jan 2018 17:32:32 +0000Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:32:32 +0000pm18,5:32 pm

  • Carol Traynor said:

    I got to know Sally in PIVOT 360 whilst on a long bus ride to Tallahassee. I enjoyed her company immensely and got to hear a little of that singing voice she honed in the UK. Her calmness is such an asset as is her life experience. So glad to have you aboard, Sally!

    AMFri, 19 Jan 2018 08:50:54 +0000Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:50:54 +0000am18,8:50 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

    Featured Colleague: Makendy Jacob Plays a Starring Role...

    Tuesday, February 15, 2022 By Jennifer Keefe As we all know, Valencia College prides itself in finding top-notch talent to help the sometimes impossible become possible for our students. But for Makendy Jacob, student services advisor for the Downtown Campus, life is all about using his skills to create that kind of magic, both on and […]

    Featured Colleague: Valencia College Empowered Anna...

    Tuesday, August 10, 2021 By Wendy Jo Moyer If it weren’t for a friend who led her to Valencia College, Anna Castillo may not be the same person she is today. When she was in high school, that friend encouraged her to join him at a Valencia College presentation. And now, seven years later, she owes her […]