Leslie Wu Foley, '87

Helaine B. Allen Director of Education and Community Engagement, Boston Symphony Orchestra

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.  She served from 2010-2017 as Chief Strategy Officer and Dean of Preparatory and Continuing Education at New England Conservatory, including The Sistema Fellowship Program. These areas experienced significant strategic and revenue growth under her tenure, including the Prep School’s re-positioning from a pre-professional training model to a program that combines the rigor of a conservatory education with the accessibility 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 – nearly doubled the school’s enrollment over six years.

Foley’s experience spans across disciplines in the nonprofit sector.  After early roles with the New York Philharmonic and The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, Foley also served as Director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Associate Director of the Tanglewood Music Center, Executive Director of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Director of Admissions at the Longy School of Music, and Assistant Producer of BSO broadcasts at WCRB. 

Foley’s commitment to community engagement has extended into board and volunteer work with the Iraqi Children’s Project, the Rwanda Youth Healing Center, the Roxbury Repertory Theater, Cultural Access Consortium, and various orchestras throughout New England. She is an alumnus of LeadBoston’s Class of 2009 (Boston Center for Community and Justice), has chaired various professional committees and served as a member of WGBH’s Community Advisory Board.