Season 5 - Professionals of Color in Forestry and Natural Resource | Episode 13

#80 | The simplest form of being a leader is having a positive influence on others

September 12, 2018 | Leslie A. C. Weldon

Today’s episode features Leslie A. C. Weldon, Deputy Chief for National Forest Systems with the USDA Forest Service. In this role, she is the executive responsible for national policy oversight and direction for Natural Resource programs, currently managing 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands. Leslie always wanted to get into forestry and credits her time in the Girl Scouts in Japan for introducing her to the outdoors. In addition to her extensive experience, Ms. Weldon earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. Find out more about Leslie’s career path, advice for others, and thoughts on leadership in today’s show, including this idea: “We don’t do as well if we’re not diverse in thoughts, opinions, and cultural backgrounds.”

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:35] A quick intro about Leslie’s background.

[3:35] How did Leslie get into forestry and natural resources?

[8:35] While in school, she wasn’t able to get a forest service job until a couple of summers later. Leslie shares her experience of how she was able to get into forestry.

[15:35] Leslie was part of a program called ‘Rise to the Future’ and describes what it was like to work with other Federal agencies.

[18:50] What was it like being a District Ranger?

[25:55] What leadership lessons has Leslie learned over the years?

[31:45] Our changing climate has given the natural resources industry a wide range of challenges to solve.

[33:20] What is Leslie most proud of so far?

[38:25] Leslie’s family still isn’t 100 percent sure what she does for a living!

[41:00] What’s it like managing at different levels of leadership?

[45:05] Turn your challenges into opportunities!

[49:15] Take some time to pause and reflect on your life and decisions. Make ‘time’ your friends.

Mentioned in This Episode:
US Forest Service: www.Fs.fed.us
Rise to the Future Program: www.Fs.fed.us/biology/fish/fish.html
Conservation Service Corps Programs: www.21csc.org
The book On the call to Holiness in today’s world by Pope Francis


Leadership Nature is a proud supporter of #forestproud, a diverse community of forest stewards.