New CEO of YWCA Edmonton: ‘We need to talk about social profit.’

Edmonton, meet Leslie!

YWCA Edmonton is proud to introduce Leslie Allen, our new Chief Executive Officer.

Leslie is a new Edmontonian coming to our city from Saskatchewan. She holds a Masters of Business Administration in Community Economic Development and brings with her 35 years of experience in the social services sector. For 15 of these years, she has served as Executive Director for various social service agencies across the prairies.

Leslie’s experience fits well with the work of YWCA Edmonton, specifically in the areas of women in crisis, domestic violence, women’s shelters, and individuals with developmental disabilities. She also has experience with housing and newcomer populations.

Leslie’s passion is community development and social profit. She believes our community must drive YWCA programs, services, and advocacy efforts. This means partnerships and collaboration to ensure our clients, allies, funders, and donors feel heard and support the mission. She also wants to shift the tone and conversation regarding the charitable sector.

“I want to engage our city in a discussion around social profit. Organizations that devote their resources to the good of the community are labelled ‘not-for-profit’. This title assumes we bring little, if any, value to the table. However, anyone who has worked in this sector can tell you the profit we create is immense. By redefining our sector as ‘social profit,’ we recognize the benefits of our excellent work and the impact — financial and social — we have within the community.

While the business sector acknowledges the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility, they (rightly) seek to understand the return on their investment. As the YWCA continues creating equality, opportunity, and choice for women and families, we must also establish best-in-class standards that illustrate fiscal responsibility and social impact. We will demonstrate the return on investment, grow as a social profit organization, and collaborate to promote the social good in Edmonton.

When asked about an accomplishment she was most proud of, Leslie told the story of establishing the Global Market in Brandon, Manitoba.

“There is a growing population of newcomer women in Manitoba. They are often mothers who are non-English speaking and isolated. We established the Global Market as a place where women can create and sell their traditional dishes to earn income. In addition, the women are paired with interpreters trained to help them navigate things like medical appointments, English training, and certification on food safety regulations. Previously vulnerable women are now connecting with the larger community while building skills and resources to support themselves and their children.

We all look forward to benefiting from Leslie’s expertise, energy, and ideas as the YWCA continues to lead, support, and advocate for women and families, when and where they need us.

Please direct media inquiries to:

Amber Niemeier
Director, Communications and Advocacy | 780-966-9035