With a mother who was a CEO and a grandmother and great-aunt who opened their own children’s clothing stores, Leslie Vickrey says her passion for taking risks while elevating her surrounding community comes from generations of immigrant women in the family before her. This has fostered an entrepreneurial spirit steeped in DE&I. As CEO and founder of ClearEdge Marketing, one way she has translated this zeal is by helping her clients harness the power and potential of marketing.
Big on giving back to the talent and technology communities she works in, Vickrey and two of her best friends in 2013 co-founded ARA, a group dedicated to attracting, retaining and advancing women in tech. What began as a quarterly dinner among friends is now a 6,000-person-strong national organization.
Vickrey operates under the tenet that DE&I is imperative for any business — within and outside the workforce solutions ecosystem — to flourish. “In such uncertain times, there’s a need for staffing enterprises to ask their teams about their well-being. One also has to be intentional with inclusion and equality and make it a part of their DNA.”
Vickrey mentors high school students, providing guidance and financial support to help fund programs such as the Young Women’s Leadership Society. She helps women of color and minority-owned organizations have a platform through speaking engagements, introductions to potential clients and partners, and financial giving programs. “It’s all about looking back to look ahead. … providing equal opportunities [to people] is how it should be,” Vickrey explains.
And Vickrey has done just that. She is part of the UIC Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, serves on the Board of Advisors for Chicago Innovation, is a part of ASA’s Women in Leadership Council and the Women Business Collaborative Staffing Leadership Council, and hosts her own podcast — TheEdge — dedicated to shining a spotlight on women in the recruitment industry.
2021 DE&I Influencers List