Leslie Haskin will never be known as the kind of woman who kept her head down or shuffled her feet. Growing up on Chicago’s south side and the youngest girl of fifteen children, she learned early in life that her value and the importance of sharing her voice was a real thing.
After college, Leslie's ambition led her to New York City, where she began her climb up the corporate ladder. By 2000, and after working for B-Trade (Michael Bloomberg), Leslie was hired to lead branch services and operations for one of the largest insurance companies in the country. With an office atop the World Trade Center in New York, she lived all the privileges that her executive lifestyle afforded.
Then, at 8:43 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 everything changed. She explains. "I was in my office on the 36thfloor of The North Tower when a Boeing 747 airplane slammed into my building. Initially I was in shock and had no idea what happened. No one did. We reacted like robots, walking down the stairs through the narrow staircase and just focusing on what was ahead.
Leslie lost 22 of her friends, was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and lost everything that she had worked for. Unable to return to work, eventually she and her son Eliot became homeless.
Leslie admits that her life so far has been somewhat of a surprise. Having also survived a brutal sexual assault earlier in life, a cancer scare and homelessness, she never imagined the expansive plans that God had in mind for her through her overcoming. Leslie says, “I just wanted to grow up, get married and have a “Brady bunch” of children in a traditional home.
Instead, in 2006, Leslie decided that she would not live broken. She started what is now a successful boutique project delivery consultancy and dedicated substantial time to serving victims of trauma. Leslie has written six books, including the New York Times Best Seller, Between Heaven and Ground Zero and Baker Books Best Seller, God Has Not Forgotten about You, and is now a lifestyles favorite author. Her latest book, ‘Hey Gurl, Hey” is already being called a woman’s empowerment movement!
Continuing to ignite her passion to serve others, Leslie treks throughout the U.S. speaking to thousands of women in conferences, keynotes and seminars that motivate them toward inner peace, self-care, overcoming and faith in a loving God. In fact, nothing pleases her more than sharing her own faith and life lessons through real stories of laughter, tears and evidence of God’s unwavering love—the earned wisdom that enables her to live a soft life.
Leslie says, “Gone are the days of pretending that we’re okay when we’re almost dead inside. Our past does not define us and what we have endured does not diminish our worth. As women, the world has opened up to hear from us and its time we speak—louder, bolder and not necessarily using our indoor voices. Gone are the many ways that we shrink to fit into bad relationships, devaluing positions and selfish love. It’s time we share our stories without guilt or shame, allowing those same stories to testify of our wisdom, resilience and strength. We should be “fierce”, demanding more from ourselves and from those around us.”
Leslie lives, works and plays in upstate New York and on stages around the globe.