Meet Leslie Hickey
Public service and community-building — that's what drives Hadassah leader Leslie Hickey. When Leslie moved to San Antonio from Colorado Springs, she deeply missed her Hadassah family. So she found a new public sector job and re-started a Hadassah group for women in their 20s to 50s, complementing the other Hadassah groups in the area. For the past two years, they've been growing their community — and their impact.
"For me, public service is like breathing. It's what I do. It's what motivates me — to work not only for my physical community where I live, but my Jewish community, and my friend community — those are all tied together with Hadassah," says Leslie. Now president of the Aviva Group in San Antonio, Leslie works for the San Antonio Police Department as an Administrative Services Officer. Before her move, she was named as a Rising Stars Young Professional by the Colorado Springs Business Journal.
Leslie is passionate about her work with the Hadassah Aviva Group: "We are energetic, empowered women who are educated and motivated. We're diverse politically, ethnically, Jewishly, some born to Judaism, some who came to it later. I've found Hadassah to be something that unifies all those differences and gives us a common thread." And that's just the women. Her husband and her rabbi, she says, are also part of her extended Hadassah family. They're Hadassah Associates.
After a successful year of Hadassah community events like the "Ta Ta Trifecta: Listen. Learn. Love," a partnership with the JCC, Leslie is looking forward to the year ahead, including a trip to Israel with Hadassah and the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project.
Three Questions for Leslie Hickey
What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
When I think of Hadassah, I think Israel, medical research, and support of women. All three speak to me, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the biggest motivator for me is the groundbreaking medical research. I truly believe Hadassah is curing the world and one day, in the not too distant future, Hadassah research will end the suffering that comes with ALS, MS, and other awful diseases. We are truly doing tikkun olam, repairing the world, and it gives me hope that my children and their children will someday lead full lives without the worry of developing these illnesses.
How did you get involved with Hadassah?
My mom made me a life member, and for years I really didn't have time to do much. I'd just had my first child and then I had twins a few years later. But after I went back to work, I was approached by my local chapter president about taking over as Treasurer, since I'm involved in the financial world professionally. At first I was hesitant, as I was so busy working and being a mom while home; but I found that this scratched an itch I didn't even realize I had — to be involved in a cause that felt bigger than me or my immediate community. I started going to local events and Region conferences, and that's when I got hooked. I served as Treasurer for three years, and had just taken over as President of my local chapter when my husband's company moved us from Colorado Springs to San Antonio in 2015.
When I got to San Antonio and saw that many women in my age demographic weren't overly familiar or involved with Hadassah, I re-started a younger women's group for women in their 20s-50s (in February 2017), and two years later we have monthly lunches, events around health issues (breast cancer awareness, skin cancer protection, etc.), and have partnered with the Jewish Federation, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Jewish Community Center on great programming. Through the Hadassah Leadership Fellows, I've now been to Israel as an adult (after going at age 7), and I'm getting ready to go again through Hadassah's partnership with the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project (JWRP), which is incredibly exciting.
Tell us a little about yourself. Personally and professionally.
I'm a mom to three amazing kids — Micah (age 11), Hannah (age 8), and Elijah (age 8), and have been married to my husband, Bryce, for 16 years. I attended the University of Judaism (now called American Jewish University) in Los Angeles, where I completed my bachelor of arts in political science, and then received my master's in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. I have spent most of my career in the public sector, having worked for the United States Government Accountability Office, the City of Colorado Springs Budget Office and the Fire Department, and now for the San Antonio Police Department.