Who's Who of Professional Women


Kristina Lesley

Initially considering becoming a lawyer, Kristina Ann Lesley, MS, was inspired by a psychology class during her undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha and decided to pursue a career that would allow her to support others, particularly at-risk children and teenagers. She graduated cum laude in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Ms. Lesley began her career that same year as a youth care worker for Cooper Village at Uta Halee Girls Village, now Uta Halee Academy, a residential service that provides young women with a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. Subsequently, she served as a law clerk with Lustgarten & Roberts PC from 1998 to 1999.

Joining Heartland Family Service as an intake specialist in 1999, Ms. Lesley rose to become a program specialist from 2003 to 2005. During this time, she earned a Master of Science in criminal justice, with an emphasis in counseling, from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2001. From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Lesley was an adjunct instructor at Kaplan University, and since 2008, she has excelled as an adjunct faculty instructor in the sociology and human services departments of Metropolitan Community College, teaching courses on criminal justice, sociology, marriage and family, cultural diversity, juvenile justice, and human relations. Ms. Lesley additionally contributes her expertise through teaching sociology to high school students throughout the state of Nebraska at the college level.

Ms. Lesley became a mentor coordinator and admissions and family support service specialist for the Omaha Home for Boys from 2007 to 2009 and later served as a program manager from 2012 to 2013. In 2009, she became a juvenile probation officer for the state of Nebraska and rose to serve as a juvenile justice resource supervisor from 2010 to 2012. She returned to probation as an intake coordinator in 2013, becoming involved in the juvenile reform movement in Douglas County, Nebraska. She is incredibly proud of what she accomplished during this time, serving on several committees as a co-chair as well as serving as the JDAI coordinator. Notably, Ms. Lesley was invited to present her work on data collection and reporting in Douglas County at a national conference hosted by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Additionally, she enjoyed being a trainer for the state probation system.

In 2015, Ms. Lesley returned to Uta Halee Academy as the program director of the Rite of Passage program. In this role, she was responsible for taking the program from a bare-bones framework and turning it into something truly spectacular for both the children and the staff by opening several new programs on the campus. On all levels, from treatment to education activities, it provides young girls with rich cultural experiences and opportunities that many have never been able to experience before. After stepping down in 2022, Ms. Lesley considers this seven-year tenure to be the highlight of her career.

In 2022, Ms. Lesley brought her expertise in human services, juvenile justice, trauma, and gender-specific programming to Heartland Family Service, serving as an assistant program director for Nebraska Family Works, a co-occurring treatment facility for women. There, she had oversight of ten programming staff members. Her duties included reviewing referrals, interviewing and screening potential clients, as well as ensuring that all low-income housing paperwork was completed correctly and that all programming elements were being followed through a trauma-informed lens.

Ms. Lesley is currently the client support services director at the Women’s Center for Advancement (WCA) in Omaha, Nebraska. The WCA’s mission is to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and stalking and their children to achieve safety and empower them to lead self-determined lives. Ms. Lesley has oversight of more than a dozen self-sufficiency case managers and advocates who work directly with clients to support, empower, and ensure safety. She also sits on many Community Crisis Response Teams to improve the community’s response to victims. Ms. Lesley embodies the values of the agencies, which are respect, integrity, collaboration, and excellence. Being a survivor herself, she was driven to take on this role and to fight against continued violence in the community. Ms. Lesley is very passionate about influencing legislative changes that are more survivor-focused and hopes to eliminate victim shaming and the stigma attached to gender-based violence.

Attributing much of her success to her tenacity and passion for helping others, Ms. Lesley has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades throughout her career. Named Educator of the Term by Kaplan University in 2006, she was later presented with the Above and Beyond Award by Nebraska State Probation in 2015. In 2022, she was named Employee of the Month for her work with the Rite of Passage program at Uta Halee Academy. Ms. Lesley’s excellence has also been recognized through induction into Phi Kappa Phi, the Golden Key International Honour Society, and Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.


Most Popular:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *