Award Honorees

Leslie (Wilcox) Johnson

Leslie (Wilcox) Johnson ‘92 demonstrates passion and excellence in everything she takes on. From earning accolades as an athlete to immersing herself in international business and becoming a leader of the Lyme Disease United Coalition, she has shown strength and adaptability in every venture.

Johnson recalled feeling amazed at the number of opportunities available at Minnetonka and the emphasis on pursuing one’s dreams. “At MHS, I was taught that no dream was too big to go after," said Johnson. "The goal-setting that my friends did rubbed off on me and I was motivated to go as far as I could in my sport and in my career.”

A multi-sport athlete her freshman year, Leslie quickly discovered her passion for swimming. By her senior year she had become captain of the girls swimming and diving team, came in first at State in multiple categories and broke two school records. After graduating, Johnson enrolled in the University of Minnesota. As a Division 1 swimmer, she broke a school record during her freshman year and qualified to swim at the NCAA’s.

Johnson decided to major in Spanish after having loved it in high school, and spent her last year studying abroad in Toledo, Spain. It was there that she discovered her genuine passion for language and connecting with people and cultures from around the world. “Getting a global perspective early in my life helped me," said Johnson. “When I graduated from the University of Minnesota I had a hunger to work in a field that would utilize my second language and allow for international travel.”

Her love for Spanish led her to work as a Customer & Technical Services Representative at Thomson Reuters. Eventually, she earned the certifications to work as a Senior Network Engineer, and later pursued her Masters in International Management from the University of St. Thomas. Combining her experience from Thomson as well as her time spent volunteering with the Minnesota World Trade Association with her MIM education, Johnson became a Senior Project Manager in Global Engineering at Target.

She shared, “This role was a perfect union of all of my knowledge to date. I ended up mentoring and managing coworkers while in this role and heard about Life Coaching for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed the positive impact Life Coaching had on those I coached and decided that I wanted to start my own Life Coaching business, which I did at the same time as working at Target.”

Johnson had unfortunately contracted Lyme Disease a few years prior to working at Target and founding her business, and experienced a horrible relapse during this time. She was forced to stop working for a period due to the effects on her health. However, she also took the time to learn more about the disease and took advantage of available resources to ultimately recover.

“I immersed myself in learning more about this community and disease,” she shared. “My mom, my sister and I had been asked to be on the Lyme Disease United Coalition Board of Directors. It was a great way to help transition from being an overachiever in all areas of my life to settling into a new way of life focused on healing and raising my two children.”

Lastly, Johnson shared a few words of advice with current MHS students. “Remember to enjoy each phase of your life and don’t forget to take a moment to stop and really be present in your life now and then. It’s so important to always ask yourself what puts a smile on your face and make adjustments in order to make sure that whatever you are doing in life makes you happy.”


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