Starting with a short short story (critically reviewed–by her grandfather–for its string of sentences each beginning “Then”) and an illustrated poem about an elf (both circa age eight), Lesli Koppelman Ross has been writing for most of her life. She is the author of books (see “Written Works” page) and feature articles, and has written, edited, designed and produced magazines, newsletters, advertising and promotional materials, corporate communications, web content and handbooks for institutions, and creative projects for organizations and individuals.

Within a few years of graduating cum laude from Mount Holyoke College as a psychology major and earning a masters degree in communication from New York University, she landed her dream job at a travel magazine. It allowed her to combine her interests in writing, photography and travel (inspired in childhood by old movies set in foreign locales and a favorite book, Mary Jane in Spain). When she left TravelScene as managing editor, she continued writing travel and general features and personality profiles for national, regional, local and specialty periodicals, among them Cosmopolitan, The Christian Science Monitor, Hadassah Magazine, The New York Post, Redbook and Palm Beach Life.

The Authors Guild member also has extensive public speaking experience, not only in promotion of her work, but also through leadership roles in professional positions, as facilitator of a series of award-winning study groups for which she developed curricula and ran sessions, and on behalf of numerous non-profits she has served and continues to serve as officer, board member and volunteer.

Most of her communal service efforts and philanthropic giving have been devoted to educational endeavors that help individuals reach their potential. Among her current active affiliations, she serves on the board (and is former chair) of Kesher (a school in North Miami for children with special learning needs), on the advisory committee to the March of the Living Southern Region, and on the national advisory board of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, a connection resulting from her participation in a relief mission to Ethiopia. Her lifelong dedication to service extends to hands-on involvement: for sixteen years she has spent one day a week as a classroom volunteer helping teach Kesher’s students. (The experience has taught her the critical importance of access for every student to an education that best meets his/her particular learning needs and style.)

A graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation elite Jewish leadership/education program, Ms. Ross is also certified to teach English as a second language. Passionate about world travel, foreign cultures, and continual learning, she takes online courses and remains determined to devote more time to Rosetta Stone lessons in Italian and Hebrew. Having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, she especially looks forward to returning to Africa, trekking in Bhutan and to Annapurna Base in Nepal, and hiking the entire length of the Israel Trail. She and husband Jordon, residents of Boca Raton, Florida, hope to spend at least six months living in Italy, a country they favor and have explored extensively.

In addition to writing, she expresses her creativity by organizing special events, entertaining at home, and dabbling in graphic arts and sculpting. She relishes sitting down with an enlightening historical or magical surrealistic novel (Gabriel Garcia Marquez being a favorite author), loves cinema, enjoys theater and history, which she regrets not seriously studying earlier. For exercise she does Zumba and Israeli dancing and walks, but wishes she could be in a “Dancing with the Stars” boot camp. She laughs a lot (but never when someone trips or falls), cries too easily–in sadness, empathy and joy, will go out of her way for good dark chocolate, and still experiences awe at seeing rainbows, powerful waterfalls, babies of any species and nature’s amazing variety.

She began this blog, in part, to highlight individuals who led or are leading illuminating lives because of their accomplishments, ideas, behavior or paths, and who by example can instruct, inspire–in short, illuminate–the lives of others.