Leslie has always been consumed with the drive to do what others think can’t be done. Her endurance and relentlessness have made her the resilient leader she is today.
When Leslie wanted a job at the age of 14, she was willing to do what was necessary to get it. The internet was not yet as prevalent as it is today and job applications were still completed in person. Leslie was too young to drive, however, anytime her mother went out for groceries she used this opportunity to submit job applications to the surrounding businesses in the same shopping plaza. These efforts resulted in a job as a fast food worker for The Green Burrito. She was only a freshman in high school.
This sparked her ambition to discover what else she was capable of. She left The Green Burrito to take a position as a part-time Receptionist. She proved herself capable very quickly and gained a role as Office Manager for a wholesale computer company at the age of 17.
Technology and Entrepreneurship
Leslie maintained a career in operations and sales operations with roles up to the Director level for a cumulative 9.5 years. When she was 26 she decided to invest in an education around Programming and System Analysis. As the world was rapidly digitizing around her she knew she needed to gain a competitive edge and acted quickly. With this new skillset, she felt inspired to open her own consultancy. Leslie named her business Pacific So. West, after her father’s company, Pacific So. West Engineering & Manufacturing. He has passed two years prior.
Leslie had a passion for the small business owner and went on to successfully help small businesses recognize the value of going digital. She assisted business owners in everything from increasing operational efficiencies to technical efforts such as cloud migrations, Salesforce CRM implementations, and front-end web development projects.
Goals were never a means to an end for Leslie. She had completed undergraduate coursework at Estrella Mountain Community College and achieved honor society status with Phi Theta Kappa. She also completed undergraduate coursework with Northern Arizona University. At 28, Leslie wanted to further develop her proficiency in the language of business so she enrolled in the HBX Harvard Business School Credential of Readiness. This is the program that Harvard Business School offers to incoming students to prepare for the MBA classroom.
After successful completion, Leslie was featured on the CORE Student Spotlight on the Harvard Business School blog. Harvard went on to feature her in other marketing material including print collateral and digital ad’s. She then enrolled and completed the “Leading with Finance” certification a year later.
Leslie was always fascinated by new and deep tech innovation.
After researching blockchain companies operating in verticals that had yet to see significant disruption, one in particular caught her eye. Propy was a blockchain application set to disrupt the real estate industry. Leslie then immersed herself in the real estate space by becoming a licensed Realtor. She achieved Top 10 recognition in her brokerage within 7 months.
With this experience behind her and a little ambition; Leslie was able to position herself as an asset to Propy and approached them for a role with their company. She became the first community manager and helped launch the global ambassador program which boasts a total of 40 individuals around the world.
Leslie was an organizer for WordCamp Phx 2018, WordCamp PHX is a weekend to celebrate WordPress, build knowledge and make connections with other users.
Leslie was a mentor for Venture Madness 2018, Venture Madness is a live pitch competition presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority.
Leslie currently is a volunteer organizer with the Phoenix Chapter of 1 Million Cups. 1 Million Cups is developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, it is a free program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs with their communities
Leslie currently runs the Phx Blockchain Meetup at Galvanize every 6 weeks with attendance upwards of 120-150 per event
Leslie is an active volunteer Deputy Registrar with the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, actively participating in community events and naturalization ceremonies to register new voters.
Leslie had her first daughter in 2008 and her second daughter in 2010. Both girls were born in West Phoenix. Her husband David is the Director of Digital at Maricopa Community Colleges and both of their daughters are enrolled at a Phoenix Public Elementary School. They adopted two puppies from the AZ Humane Society and live in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
Leslie’s mother worked for the Department of Public Health after becoming a citizen through the naturalization process. Her father was a Marine during the Korean war and then returned to service in the Army. He worked for Santa Anita Race Track before embarking on his own business, Pacific So West Engineering and Manufacturing. Having only a middle school education he was able to build the machinery which manufactured the stalls, gates & wheelbarrows his company sold.
Leslie has an older brother, Adrian and a sister Amber.
Running for Secretary of State
In her role with Propy, Leslie’s gained a heightened awareness in the way our government is operating. Part of her responsibilities involved engaging with state-level governments across the nation. She became exposed to how our local governments had completely disconnected from the mission of serving the people. She understood that American leadership in technology, innovation & economic competitiveness was at serious risk if our government did not change. Leslie saw so much opportunity for progress and growth if the right leaders were in place who would and could address the social, political and economic dimensions associated with change.
In order to bring about technological progress, it needs to come from the top down. This is why Leslie decided on state executive office.
The AZ Secretary of State must think like a politician, a citizen and a business executive all at once. The individual who holds office must understand the preservation of state, observe federal & state statues and about the impact of state office. To understand the office in its full complexity requires a kind of probing intelligence, someone willing to think across those different disciplines and scales.
Leslie understands how to combine emerging skill sets, industries, and fields with refined principals and effectively apply them.
Innovation in Government is Possible. Leslie will prove it.
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PAID FOR BY LESLIE H PICO FOR SECRETARY OF STATE | AUTHORIZED BY LESLIE PICO