Editor’s note: Opus College of Business is highlighting Opus graduates (“giants”) who are making a huge impact in the world. Read the rest of the profiles here.
Before becoming a lawyer and getting her MBA degree, Leslie Redmond ’19 J.D./MBA was fighting for justice in her community. In the inner city of Washington, D.C., witnessing injustice was a part of her daily routine.
“People are my passion. Helping to build up God’s kingdom, restoring humanity, dismantling white supremacy, and fighting for Black liberation are my guiding forces,” Redmond said.
In Washington, poverty, mass incarceration, education disparities and gentrification weren’t just words in a textbook; they were her reality.
“I didn’t really choose this field; it chose me … I decided I had to become the change I wanted to see,” she said.
To help her community, the Minnesota-based Redmond needed to equip herself first. At Opus, she learned about the business of economics, which has enabled her to continue the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of economic justice for poor people in the country.“I am better suited to fight for justice because of my MBA from St. Thomas,” she said. “Every course taught me new lessons about how the world worked. I was exposed to many concepts, people and businesses I did not even know existed.”
Cultivating public speaking skills in the classroom has helped her deliver powerful words of impact. During the George Floyd protest, Redmond’s groundbreaking speech gained national attention and shifted the narrative from “looting” to “uprising.”
“[A] life-changing moment was helping to free Myon Burrell from serving 17 years of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. Last summer, I helped protect West Broadway in north Minneapolis and prevented Black businesses and churches from being burned to the ground. I’ve had the honor of standing on the front lines for Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, Justine Damond and George Floyd … Honestly, [there] is so much I’m thankful for.”
At the age of 26, Redmond became the youngest president of the Minneapolis branch of NAACP. She’s also the founder of Don’t Complain, Activate (DCA), which encourages everyone to get involved in social justice work. A well-known face locally and nationally, she uses her platform to be a voice in the movement.