Leslie Koch: Think Big and Act Small

About this presentation

As the fearless leader of Governors Island, Leslie Koch put a forgotten little 172-acre island off the coast of Manhattan on the cultural map. In just a few years, she increased island visits from 8,000 people to over 275,000 and got New York City onboard with ambitious development plans, including a potential NYU satellite campus. Here, she shares five simple lessons learned about marketing, strategy, and life.

About Leslie Koch

Leslie Koch is president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC). Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor that includes a 92-acre National Historic Landmark District. Under her leadership, GIPEC has developed a strategy to create world-class open spaces, expand public access, preserve historic structures, and improve transportation and infrastructure.

Previously, Leslie was the CEO of the nonprofit Fund for Public Schools, where she developed initiatives to increase public participation and private sector support for public education in New York City. During this time, the Fund secured nearly $160 million for system-wide initiatives and school-based programs.



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  • stationery design

    Wow its a nice blog like this blog design also.
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  • wildpeaks

    You advocate using only talk that your mother would understand (e.g. you mention you banned architect talk because you don’t understand their “high tech world” terms) while building the product (the product itself should only use simple language, I agree completely), yet you use a lot of marketing lingo in the presentation that I doubt many mothers would get.

    It’s OK not to know everything (I certainly don’t), but don’t punish others for knowing things you don’t or being precise: just ask them to explain in simpler and broader terms (do it a few times and us techy nerds will quickly remember to keep things simple when talking to you) or just accept that you don’t need to know every detail to manage your staff; after all, that’s why one usually hire experts in each field, so that you don’t have to micro-manage everything yourself.

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