Leslie Wu Foley

Bringing over 30 years of experience leading major arts and education institutions in the Boston area, Leslie Wu Foley currently serves as the Helaine B. Allen Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she oversees programs that create mutually beneficial relationships with community partners throughout Massachusetts. Foley, a graduate of Princeton University and a cellist, served from 2010-2017 as Chief Strategy Officer and Dean of Preparatory and Continuing Education at New England Conservatory, which also included the oversight and development of The Sistema Fellowship Program. The Schools of Preparatory and Continuing Education experienced significant strategic and revenue growth under her tenure, moving from a pre-professional training model to a program that combines the rigor of a conservatory education with the openness of a community music school. This culture shift – one that emphasizes music education as a path towards arts advocacy, citizenship, creative problem solving, and effective communication – resulted in a 40% increase in enrollment over six years.
Foley’s experience spans across disciplines in the arts and nonprofit sector. After launching her career in roles at the New York Philharmonic and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, Foley has also served as Director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design from 2006-09; Director of Volunteers for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Executive Director of Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at the Longy School, script writer and audio describer at WGBH, and Assistant Producer of BSO broadcasts at WCRB.
Foley’s commitment to community engagement has been demonstrated by volunteer work with the Iraqi Children’s Project (Managing Director), the Rwanda Youth Healing Center (U.S. Advisory Board), and board membership with the Roxbury Repertory Theater, Cultural Access Consortium, Longwood Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Landmarks Orchestra. She has also been a member of LeadBoston’s Class of 2009 (Boston Center for Community and Justice) and the MassArt Civic Engagement Committee. She was Chair of the BSO Staff Diversity Committee and Co-Chair of the Colleges of the Fenway Civic Engagement Committee, and served for three years as a member of WGBH’s Community Advisory Board.