Bio and Résumé
Raised as an “army brat” in France, Germany, the USA and across Canada, Leslie graduated from the University of Guelph in 1973 with an honours BSc in fisheries and wildlife biology. She worked for fourteen years in provincial and national parks, capping her parks career as acting superintendent in Banff.
Leslie left Parks Canada in 1987 to pursue an interest in consulting work (facilitation, training and writing), and was elected as the first Mayor of Banff in the fall of 1989. She served two terms before choosing to return to consulting in 1995.
From 1998 to 2007, Leslie was associate director in the Mountain Culture division of The Banff Centre, heading up the mountain environment programs there. She retired from the Centre in February 2007, and now takes on a variety of contract work, as well as serving as a Banff town councillor.
Leslie has lived in Banff since 1981. She and her husband, Banff lawyer Gord Rathbone, have two grown children. They all enjoy hiking, skiing and travel. In early 2007, Leslie walked 850 kms from Chateauroux, France to Pamplona, Spain, following that up with 500 kms between Pamplona and Santiago de Compostela in March of 2010.
B.Sc.(Agr.), Honours Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, with distinction, University of Guelph, 1973. Kortright scholarship. Many additional short courses, including:
- The Leadership Challenge, 1991
- Advanced environmental conflict resolution, 1993
- Systems project management, 1996
Councillor, Town of Banff, October 2007 - present. I represent or have represented council on the Bow River Basin Council, the Bow Corridor Ecosystem Advisory Group, the Municipal Planning Commission, the Development Appeal Board, Banff Heritage Tourism Corporation, Banff Heritage Corporation, the Banff Housing Corporation, the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission and the Banff Public Library Board, among other assignments. Participated in and facilitated the 12-member consensus-based Banff Housing Corporation Mandate Review Working Group.
Mayor of Banff, two terms, 1989 to 1995. Responsible for the policy direction of planning and operations for a national park destination community with an annual budget of approximately $13 million. Chaired numerous committees and boards. Led the creation of the 1992 -1997 Land Use Bylaw.
L.A. Taylor Consulting (Banff,1985 to present). Contract my services to clients in the energy, utility, tourism and public sectors, both individually and through associations with other firms.
- Facilitate meetings and team-building, strategic planning and problem-solving sessions.
- Design and present training seminars and workshops, primarily in the areas of management, presentation and communication skills.
- Write or edit media releases, reports, plans, or funding applications.
- Manage projects such as publications or events.
- Prepare or coach presentations.
The Banff Centre, Mountain Culture (Banff, 1998 to 2007). Two positions: Associate Director, Operations (1998-2003), Associate Director, Mountain Environment (2003 to 2007).
- managed finances, media relations, communications, marketing, legal and other centralized functions for a successful, entrepreneurial organization with an international profile. With two other senior managers, undertook strategic planning for this division.
- created, planned, organized, presented and evaluated innovative programming on mountain environment issues, often in partnership with other organizations, attracting an international audience of mid-career scientists and senior decision-makers. Edited proceedings and other publications resulting from these events.
- raised funds for these programs through foundations, government and corporations.
- personally and through supervised staff, administered an annual grant program with applications for projects worldwide, an exhibition series, a speaker/seminar series, and a membership program.
- secured and managed the North American node of an international online forum for sustainable development in mountain regions, served on the international board of the Forum.
- represented the Banff Centre in the Mountain Partnership, an international UN/FAO-based partnership for mountain conservation and sustainable development.
Parks Canada (Various locations, 1977 to 1987). Held a range of positions starting as a seasonal interpreter and finishing as Acting Superintendent, Banff National Park.
- led and managed various functions in Banff National Park with a substantial operating and capital budget.
- led the final stages of the 1988 Park Management Plan for Banff National Park.
- managed engineering and interpretive staff in a high-profile capital project, under tight deadlines
- researched, planned, wrote and implemented interpretive media (signs, brochures, exhibits, radio scripts)
- designed and presented interpretive programs
B.C. Provincial Parks Branch (various locations, 1973 to 1977).
- supervised a staff of up to twenty in Mt. Robson Provincial Park, responsible for campground maintenance, interpretation, fee collection, etc.
- carried out a research study of hiker and horse impacts and wrote up results for publication
Past member of:
- Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Board of Governors (chaired two sub-committees)
- Banff Mineral Springs Hospital Board
- Banff National Park Health Unit Board
- Interpretation Canada, Alberta Section, Executive
- Transportation Advisory Committee, Town of Banff
- Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Board (Vice-president)
- Banff Community High School, school council
- The Mountain Forum Board (North American representative)
- The International Mountain Partnership (Banff Centre representative)
- The Banff Centre Leadership Development Advisory Group
Present member of:
- IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas – Mountain Biome
PUBLICATIONS AND AWARDS
Lead editor of the following proceedings:
Governance and Decision-making in Mountain Areas (2006)
Interdisciplinary Research and Management in Mountain Areas (2005)
Mountains as Water Towers (2004)
Sustainable Mountain Communities (2004)
Ecological and Earth Sciences in Mountain Areas (2003)
Human Use Management in Mountain Areas (2002)
Have published articles in popular periodicals (Canadian Family, Skyline, Banff Crag and Canyon).
In September 2006, with Bernadette McDonald, I accepted the King Albert Mountain Award. The King Albert Foundation conferred this award on the Mountain Culture division of The Banff Centre, and cited us personally for “dynamic and effective leadership for this outstanding mountain institution.”
References available upon request.