Bringing 35 years of experience leading major arts and education institutions in the Boston area, Leslie Wu Foley joined Boys & Girls Club of Boston in November 2022 as its first VP of Government Relations and External Affairs. Her work will focus on building awareness and support for BGCB’s strategic objectives with external stakeholders including elected officials and public administrators, as well as community and business leaders. Prior to her appointment, she served for five years as the Helaine B. Allen Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, creating collaborative programs with community and learning partners throughout Massachusetts. In 2020, Foley was asked to create and Chair the BSO Staff Working Group for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, a five-person committee dedicated to identifying barriers and opportunities to integrate EDI values into staff practices and policies.
A graduate of Princeton University, Foley served from 2010-2017 as Chief Strategy Officer and Dean of Preparatory and Continuing Education at New England Conservatory, which also included the oversight and development of The Sistema Fellowship Program. The Schools of Preparatory and Continuing Education experienced significant strategic and revenue growth under her tenure, moving from a strictly pre-professional training model one that also leveraged music education as a path towards arts advocacy, citizenship, creative problem solving, and effective communication.
Foley’s experience spans across disciplines in the arts and nonprofit sector. After launching her career in operations at the New York Philharmonic, Foley served as Assistant Director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, Director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design; script writer and audio describer at WGBH, and Assistant Producer of BSO broadcasts at WCRB.
Foley’s commitment to community engagement has been demonstrated by volunteer work throughout her career. In Fall 2020, in response to the devastating impact of the pandemic on freelance musicians, she became a founding Board member of the New England Musicians Relief Fund, which has raised and distributed nearly $700K to local artists. Also, in March 2021, Foley created an online group of AAPI Arts Administrators to explore the role of arts managers in elevating AAPI voices through various media. Past volunteer experience includes the Iraqi Children’s Project, the Rwanda Youth Healing Center, and board membership with the Roxbury Repertory Theater, Cultural Access Consortium, Longwood Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Landmarks Orchestra. She is a graduate of LeadBoston’s Class of 2009 (Boston Center for Community and Justice) and led the MassArt Civic Engagement Committee, the Colleges of the Fenway Civic Engagement Committee, and served for three years as a member of WGBH’s Community Advisory Board. She is currently on the Board of Directors for ArtsBoston.