Accountable Strategic Growth Leader

As the Southeast Talent Leader, Leslie Patterson oversees the development and career needs of 3,500 EY professionals across 15 offices, as well as a portion of the firm’s Caribbean practice.

Patterson also serves as the Growth Markets Leader for Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, where she is responsible for building awareness of EY’s services and programs in relation to entrepreneurship, family-owned and private businesses, private equity and venture capital backed companies, and IPO and strategic transactions.

Her colleagues say she is a driven and focused leader who has successfully worked to build a more diverse and a more inclusive workplace at the firm. Her keen business insights and variety of experiences at EY have well-positioned her to hold dual roles with the firm.

Paterson is a Partner and has been with EY for 23 years, where she launched her career as a CPA in the firm’s Assurance practice. Over the years, she has served as the Americas Director of the Office of Diversity Strategy and Development, and has been a successful national recruiter, focusing primarily on the firm’s minority campus and experienced hire recruitment efforts. She is a member of EY’s Americas Talent Executive Committee and has served on multiple Global and Americas Task Forces.

Among her numerous professional and community initiatives, she serves as a board member on Hampton University’s Board of Trustees, the Atlanta Police Foundation Board, the Trinity School Board of Trustees, and Vanderbilt University’s MaCC Advisory Board.

She is also a member of the Georgia State Society of CPAs, Leadership Atlanta, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Black Accountants (Life Member) and the American Accounting Association. Patterson holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Hampton University and an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Words she lives by: “Respect is earned; honesty is appreciated; trust is gained, and loyalty is returned.”

She attributes finding a healthy work-life balance to flexibility, which allows for a smooth flow with three sons, a husband, and a demanding career. “Flexibility not only helps manage my office and home schedules, but it also assists me in being a better leader who understands the need to accept and to rapidly adapt in our changing industry,” Patterson said.

She believes learning from success is important, but learning from failure is vital to succeeding. Patterson shares “It’s imperative to remember one’s actions and/or reactions during trying times can determine the impressions of others and can serve as teaching or mentoring moments. There is always something to learn from or to pass on to others to aid in one’s own or another’s success.”