About

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LaShunda Leslie-Smith, LMSW  earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Child and Family Services from St. John Fisher College, a Masters in Social Work from the Greater Rochester Collaborative Master of Social Work Program, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College.

LaShunda developed her passion for youth and the human service field through her roles as a child protective investigator for Monroe County Department of Human Services and therapeutic foster care social worker for Hillside Family of Agencies. LaShunda’s nonprofit management and fundraising skills were further developed in her role as Executive Director of Successful Pathways, an organization that she founded. Her responsibilities include overall agency management, human resources, program development, grant compliance, marketing and fundraising. LaShunda most recently served as the President and CEO of Young Women’s College Prep Foundation, Inc. and is now the Executive Director of Connected Communities, a nonprofit whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty and revitalize the EMMA and Beechwood neighborhoods in Rochester, NY.

LaShunda is a highly sought after motivational speaker and workshop presenter. LaShunda shares her story of overcoming being a mom at the young age of 14, all over the country. Well known and loved by her community, LaShunda has been nominated and selected as the recipient for numerous awards and accolades. The Democrat and Chronicle named LaShunda one of Rochester, New York’s “Emerging African American Leaders. ” She has been featured in Rochester Insider magazine, and was named the “Woman in the Spotlight” by the Women’s Council of Rochester, NY. Rochester Insider magazine named Ms. Leslie-Smith, “Most Likely to Succeed,” and HerRochester named LaShunda “A Woman to Watch”. The City of Rochester awarded LaShunda the “Pioneer Award” for the work that she does in the Rochester community. LaShunda has also been featured in local magazines including on the cover of Breakthru Magazine where LaShunda was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Upstate New York” and Rochester Women’s Magazine in the “Inspire Section”. Most recently, LaShunda was named one of the Rochester Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees a Women of Distinction by the Girls Scouts of Western New York, and a finalist for the Young ATHENA Award.

Committed to her community, LaShunda has served on several boards and committees.  She also serves in multiple ministries at her church. LaShunda is a community leader, motivational speaker, author, and consultant. She is blessed to share her life’s journey with her husband Moses and their two children, Branden and Myanna.