This week, MICDS alumna Holly Leicht ’88 spoke to the Upper School about the importance of making a difference, and how this next generation will play an integral role in public service.
“Your generation is not content to wait for the tools of adulthood to make a difference,” she said.
With sound advice, coming from a place of humility and inspiration for the future generation of leaders, she also added:
- Speak up. Your voice matters.
- Be informed. Get your information firsthand.
- Balance your news sources.
- Don’t just talk to people who think like you do.
- Get involved in issues you care about when you’re ready.
Leicht is currently the Executive Vice President of Real Estate Development & Planning at Empire State Development, overseeing the planning and disposition of New York State’s surplus properties and ESD’s subsidiary development corporations. Previously she served in the Obama Administration as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Region 2, presiding over the agency’s activities in New York and New Jersey, including $6 billion in affordable housing and other urban development programs, and over $15 billion in Superstorm Sandy recovery funds. Leicht led the implementation of the region’s winning Rebuild by Design and National Disaster Resilience Competition infrastructure projects, and after the Obama Administration ended, she wrote a report entitled Rebuild the Plane Now: Recommendations for Improving Government’s Approach to Disaster Recovery and Preparedness, which influenced the funding package Congress passed to aid recovery from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Prior to her appointment at HUD, Leicht was the Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), a research-based advocacy organization championing quality public spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods.