Leslie Lynn Smith is the National Director for GET Cities (Gender Equality in Tech) at SecondMuse. She is building a national movement to create a tech economy that celebrates and elevates women, trans, and non-binary people in tech. Her work is powered by a vision for American cities that leverages economic justice and inclusion to enrich and empower individuals, families and communities. Under Smith’s leadership, GET Cities built on the success of its first city in Chicago and launched its second in Washington, D.C., where it is working to shift power in the local tech economy to women, trans, and non-binary people with a focus on Black, Indigenous, and people of color to transform the industry into an engine for equity.
Smith was born in Detroit during the city’s 1967 civil uprisings. The city’s history of fighting for racial justice inspired her work to build a more fair and just society where everyone has equal access to economic opportunity. Her years of work, across the country, in economic empowerment and community-based business development shaped her view that local entrepreneurs are best equipped to solve the challenges in their communities and create a more just and equitable society.
Before joining GET Cities, Smith was the founding president and CEO of Epicenter, a nonprofit hub for the greater Memphis entrepreneurial community. In that role, she drove strategy for a network of economic-development, academic, corporate, and government partners to increase support for new and existing community-based businesses and entrepreneurs. Smith was also the president and CEO of TechTown, Detroit’s most established business incubator and accelerator. She helped to launch novel urban economic development programs, create tech-based companies, and launch robust regional entrepreneurship collaborations.
Smith was director of business acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, overseeing the state’s $300 million start-up investment portfolio. She also managed the statewide innovation economy and its partner network, including research universities, incubators, accelerators, and the philanthropic and private sectors. Smith has been featured as aTEDx speaker as well as in Forbes, Fortune, and StyleBlueprint. She was named one of the Memphis Business Journal’s “Super Women of Business” in 2019. Her active board service includes InBIA, the Center for American Entrepreneurship, and Memphis Fourth Estate, Inc.