We are excited to welcome Leigha Taylor to our Panther family, but in a sense, she already was – as a strong supporter of KWC over the years with husband Sam ’97.
“I am excited to be a part of moving the College forward and helping to impact future generations. As a first-generation scholar myself, I understand how much my college experience helped to shape my life and impacted the person I am today.
“I moved from San Jose, Calif., to Murray, Ky., at age 13 and graduated from Murray High School. I grew up very close to Murray State’s campus, so it was only natural for me to attend MSU after high school. After graduating from college, I began working for the Shawnee Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America, which was headquartered in Owensboro. I served for two years in Hopkinsville and then transferred to Owensboro. I fell in love with the city and decided this was where I wanted to live and raise a family.”
“My husband, Sam ‘97, and I met working for the Boy Scouts. We both started the same week and quickly became friends. We worked together for a few years before dating, and I was one of those lucky people who got to marry her best friend. He has always loved Wesleyan; it is what brought him here from Orlando, Fla. Because of time we have spent being actively involved, I have grown very fond of the College as well. Some people have even mistaken me for a Wesleyan alum! Sam says I am an alum by marriage.
“We have a 15-year-old daughter, Kiersten, and an 8-year-old son, Reece. Kiersten is a rising sophomore at Owensboro High School where she plays volleyball and cheers. Reece is going into the third grade at Highland Elementary and plays football. We are all active members of First Baptist Church in Owensboro.”
“My career began with 11 years at the Boy Scouts, when I learned just about every aspect of non-profit management. In my senior district executive role, I oversaw fundraising, recruitment, volunteer and staff management, event/programming and operations within the districts (geographical areas) I served.
“In 2011, I went to work at Boulware Mission, a local shelter specializing in drug/alcohol addiction recovery, as the director of development. There I established and implemented a fund development plan to support the organization’s strategic mission. I directed all fundraising, event planning, grant writing, marketing and public relations initiatives. In 2016, I was named executive director/CEO after my predecessor retired. As executive director, I continued to oversee the development and operations of the Mission.
“During my time at the Mission and under my leadership, we were blessed to be awarded two Impact 100 Owensboro grants. We also started two very popular annual special events, a golf scramble and Dancing with Our Stars Owensboro Style. I spent 10 1/2 years at Boulware before coming to Wesleyan.”
My initial impressions of KWC as an employee
“Wesleyan is a very welcoming place. I felt like I fit in right away. There is a real family/team atmosphere which made the transition very easy.
“I attended my first staff retreat during my second week at work and got to see “what I had gotten myself into,” as they said. What I found is that I get to work with a fun, wacky bunch of people!”
“I hope to bring experience and fresh ideas to the advancement team this year. I look forward to meeting alumni and fostering relationships within the Wesleyan community. Because I enjoy special event planning, I would love to identify a new signature fundraising event to benefit the Wesleyan Scholarship Fund.”
What The Wesleyan Way means to me
“To me, the four principles of The Wesleyan Way – honor, support, integrity and love – are values that I, as a Christian woman, should and do strive to realize in my daily life. If we have and share the love of Christ, we can accomplish anything, and I think that is what The Wesleyan Way is built on.”