Leslie Beller, founder and CEO of Chicago’s MHA Labs, is a long-time advocate for youth and collective impact operating as both entrepreneur and public sector administrator to create sustainable college, career and life pathways.
Leslie steadfastly stewarded the MHA Labs initiative from its start as a one-page rubric, through a rapid development W.K. Kellogg innovation venture, into a successful independent cradle to career skills organization with thousands of users. Practicing what she preaches, Leslie often uses the MHA Labs skills framework to guide her through the complexity of managing a national skills reform movement.
Prior to launching MHA Labs, Leslie was the program director for Youth Initiatives at the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (formerly Chicago Workforce Investment Council) where she championed citywide college and career readiness initiatives. Before coming to The Partnership, Leslie spent two years working on diversity and equity issues at the University of Virginia to broaden her knowledge base to include college readiness and access. She is co-founder and former president of i.c.stars, a technology leadership development program that uses simulation-based education to address over 300 technical, business and leadership standards necessary to succeed in a rapidly shifting economic environment. Before pursuing the i.c.stars entrepreneurial approach, she served as a director at Jobs for Youth, a large-scale youth workforce development agency targeting disconnected young adults.
In her spare time you will often find Leslie spending even more time with youth working on topics that inspire her including civic education, social justice, and user-centered design.