Julie Marine Leshay
Julie Marine Leshay, Delta Zeta Chapter, Colorado College (1955- )
Julie Marine Leshay is known for being energetic, involved and fastidious in her positive attitude. As the 50th Fraternity President of Kappa Kappa Gamma, 2010–2014, her administration embodied change and progress. A Council member said of Julie: “(She) is a spirited leader. She listens to all perspectives and assists others in making decisions. Julie is not afraid to suggest bold steps to move our Fraternity forward or to take a serious look at current practices. She demonstrates all of the qualities of leadership, friendship and sincerity.”
Julie was initiated at Colorado College like her mother, Vera Lewis Marine, Director of Alumnae from 1987–1992. As an undergraduate, Julie served as chapter Social Chairman. However, her passion for theatre led her to transfer to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, Calif., in 1976. Julie spent 10 years pounding the pavement in Hollywood, Calif., landing roles on TV shows and starring in several stage productions.
She moved to Chicago, Ill., where she served as an adviser to Upsilon Chapter, Northwestern, President of the North Shore Alumnae Association and was appointed Coordinator of Chapter Development for Eta Delta Chapter, Valparaiso. She was elected Province Director of Chapters and Regional Director of Alumnae before being elected to the Fraternity Council in 2004 as Treasurer, 2004–2008. After two terms as Treasurer, Julie served as Fraternity Vice President from 2008–2010 and was elected Fraternity President in 2010.
During her administration, Julie oversaw the installation of six new chapters: Eta Phi, NYU; Eta Rho, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Eta Sigma, Chapman; Eta Tau, Georgetown; Eta Upsilon, Wichita State; and Eta Phi, Elmhurst. Ten new alumnae associations were created. All associations received an updated Book of Ritual and a newly revised Book of Devotionals and Inspirational Readings.
The 2010–2012 Council saw the successful rollout of GIRLS Academy, created by the previous administration, to promote leadership development for middle-school girls. The 2012–2014 Council adopted the 2013–2018 Strategic Plan, which was designed to inspire, prepare, impact and connect members ahead of Kappa’s Sesquicentennial in 2020. The Long Range Planning Committee’s new volunteer structure was also approved by Fraternity Council.
During Julie’s term, a new brand identity was developed as well as a redesign of the Fraternity’s website. The tagline, aspire to be, communicates how Kappa builds an infrastructure to support women’s aspirations. With this new brand identity came an updated vision statement: Kappa Kappa Gamma will empower women to pursue a lifetime of excellence, adopted by the 2010–2012 Fraternity Council. In the fall 2012 issue of The Key, Julie notes that “with a new vision statement, Kappa is taking a new look at our world.” In her final year as President, Julie’s Council helped direct the redesign of The Key magazine, bringing it a fresh and modern look for the times.
The use of social media and technology, including the creation of KeyReports, an online portal for chapter management, increased. In addition, a new chapter accounting system was introduced allowing each chapter member to manage her own account and make chapter payments online. Senior programming for graduating members was fine-tuned to ensure a successful transition to alumna life. Forty-three alumna initiates joined Kappa Kappa Gamma during Julie’s presidency per the special initiation provisions in the Fraternity Bylaws.
A regional meeting structure was developed to allow for more meaningful training and development of volunteers, and it will be piloted in 2015. Training modules were created around core competencies for volunteers, as well as for chapter and association officers. In addition, the Fraternity launched Kappapedia, a community for keeping the history of the Fraternity and Kappa’s chapter histories online as a living and accessible archive.
In her 2012 Convention speech, Julie said: “True sisterhood revolves around shared values, openness and trust established through shared experiences. As our members grow, our Fraternity grows. Not because we hope to but because we aspire to.”
Julie and her husband, Jeff, reside in Wilmette, Illinois, with their cat named Blue and a garden bursting with irises. Their son, Austin, is a graduate of the University of Arizona.