Get to Know Leadership St. Pete® Chair, Dr. Leslie Hafer!
As one of the oldest leadership programs in the country, Leadership St. Pete seeks to identify, recruit, and develop leaders who represent the diversity of our local community. Through class interaction and discussions with community leaders, LSP stimulates creative thinking, and, ultimately, community leaders emerge with new resources and knowledge to face their everyday challenges.
The application to apply for the Class of 2024 is now open. Applications are due by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
LSP candidates must do business or live in the St. Petersburg area and be at least 22 years of age at the time of signing their application. They must have the full support of the organization, corporation, or company they represent.
To kick off the season, we spoke to Leadership St. Pete Chair, Leslie Hafer and asked her a few questions:
Q: Dr. Hafer, tell us about yourself! What do you do, and what do you wish people knew about you?
A: I am Leslie Hafer and I work for St. Petersburg College as the Provost for the St. Pete/Gibbs Campus, Allstate Center, Bay Pines STEM Center and the Fire Training Center. I have been with St. Petersburg College for five years. I hold a doctorate degree in leadership and a master’s degree in biology. In case you are wondering, the role of Provost at St. Petersburg College is similar to a Chief Campus Officer.
Q: What motivated you to take on this role?
A: I love the Leadership St. Pete program and the city of St. Pete. I was part of the 2020 class (the Visionaries and the Longest-Class Ever). The program’s focus on relationship building had a profound impact on me professionally and personally. I wanted to be a part of creating that opportunity for others.
Q: What goals do you have for the Class of 2024?
A: My goal is to ensure each class member graduates with an increased understanding of who they are as a leader, tools to help them grow in their leadership journey, and an awareness of the many opportunities within our community for them to make a difference.
Q: What motivates you? / What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about helping people fulfill their dreams through education and training. As a first-generation college student, I understand the value of a college degree and the opportunities it can create in your life. I was well into my career before I went back to school to earn a doctorate. I know what it is like to work full-time, have a family, and be a full-time student. I use my own experience to help our students see what is possible. I think my passion for education is a large driver for my involvement with Leadership St. Pete. LSP is another avenue where I get to help people build upon their skills.
Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: I am most thankful for my family and their sense of humor. I get to laugh every day and that is truly a gift.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: In my free time, I teach online management courses, play golf, and spend time with my family and friends. The beach is my happy place.
Dr. Leslie Hafer is the Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, Bay Pines STEM Center, Allstate Center, and the Fire Training Center of St. Petersburg College.
She provides leadership and is accountable for essential aspects of campus operations, including efforts to ensure the full range of support programs and services is optimal in helping all students succeed in their academic goals.
Dr. Hafer earned her Ed.D. in Leadership from Valdosta State University and her M.S. in Biology from Georgia College and State University.
Before coming to St. Petersburg College, Dr. Hafer served as a campus executive director with Georgia Military College, where she provided leadership for academic affairs, student affairs, enrollment management, and facility operations.
Dr. Hafer has served as Campus Academic Dean, Department Chairperson for Natural Sciences, and Assistant Professor of Biology during her career in higher education.
Dr. Hafer has extensive experience serving active duty and veteran students, international students, and at-risk students. Her areas of educational interest include student engagement, student retention, and Leadership.