As president/CEO of Wilson Resources, Inc. over the past 19 years, Leslie Wilson has consulted with major corporations, federal courts, federal and state agencies and private nonprofits in states from coast-to-coast.
Leslie Wilson serves on the National APSE: The Network on Employment Board of Directors, is a member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa Class of 2010, and the recipient of the 2003 National Leadership Award and the 2004 Businesswoman of the Year, both presented by the National Congressional Committee’s Business Advisory Council. In 2009 she became a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, a program of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and completed The Disney Institute’s 5-day course, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence. In January 2009, Wilson Resources was selected as one of 600 woman-owned businesses nationwide to participate in the Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, Sam’s Club 600.
Ms. Wilson is listed in the International Presidential Who’s Who Among Business and Professional Achievers, 2009 Edition and the National Register - Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals, 2004 Edition, International Executive Guild, Bethpage, NY.
For the past five years, WRI has been engaging employers through development and staffing of successful local Florida Business Leadership Networks (BLNs), employer-to-employer organizations dedicated to promoting the employment of people with disabilities. More than 600 BLN business members have joined the local Florida BLNs. Notable companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF), the BLNs’ statewide champion, Merrill Lynch, the Federal Reserve Bank, Hyatt Hotels, SunTrust Bank, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Aderant, Walgreens and Holland and Knight Law Firm are BLN members. The BLNs and the employers who belong to them have won every major United States Business Leadership Network award. In 2003, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during a review of Florida’s efforts to expand the employment of people with disabilities named Florida’s local BLNs a model public/private partnership.
WRI has organized and provided onsite training on the employment of people with disabilities at such companies as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, BCBSF, American Express, AvMed, AmeriGroup, CSX and other large corporations. BCBSF staff have declared that involvement in the BLNs and the BLN sponsored paid internship program have changed the company’s corporate culture. Individuals with disabilities are currently working in entry level to skilled BCBSF positions.
Currently, WRI is assisting the state of Florida in implementing its 2009 federal Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) to increase the number of Floridians with disabilities who become competitively employed. Activities include training and certifying trainers on WRI’s copyrighted Supported Employment curriculum, providing advanced training for certified employment specialists titled, Working with Business: The Best Practices of the Most Effective Employment Specialists, technical assistance and training to three agencies to assist them in transitioning people from their Adult Day Training programs to community employment, and creating Leadership Florida for Employment Providers, which will offer leadership training to service providers’ management teams. From 2006 through November 2008, nearly 2,000 people were trained by WRI on some facet of employment for people with disabilities.
Ms. Wilson’s company is also working with the state of Ohio MIG grant to educate job developers on ways to Work with Employers to reduce the unemployment rate of Ohioans with disabilities.
Through WRI’s 2008 and 2009 contracts with CESSI, a contractor of the Social Security Administration (SSA), WRI is promoting the SSA’s “New” Ticket to Work Program (TTW). WRI is tasked with educating and recruiting employers and provider agencies to participate in the TTW program by becoming Employment Networks (EN). WRI developed two SSA handbooks: The Ticket to Work Employment Network Handbook for Employers: Turning Diversity into Dollars and Employment Network Handbook for Service Providers: Grow Your Bottom Line by Putting Social Security Beneficiaries to Work. Both handbooks have been well-received by SSA.
From 1991-1998, Ms Wilson assisted the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) to ensure the successful employment of individuals with significant disabilities. She worked with the Tulsa BLN, wrote the state’s supported employment training curriculum, trained the trainers, provided technical assistance to provider agencies, and worked with policy-makers to revamp the state’s employment rates. During this time she provided job development services and was instrumental in developing Contracts with Industry, which pays employers directly for job coaching services provided by their employees. According to the 2004 State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, in fiscal year 2004, 71 percent of all day and work recipients receiving services from Oklahoma’s DDSD were in supported or competitive employment. No other state had a higher percentage; the national average was 24 percent.