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Undergraduate Research

Plenary Speaker

2020: USM alumna Leslie Walker Stevens 

Leslie Walker StevensLeslie Walker Stevens is a native of Petal, Mississippi and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Honors College. While at Southern Miss, she held multiple student leadership positions and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and the Student Hall of Fame. Leslie is a lifetime member of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. After graduation, she earned a Master of Communication degree from Auburn University, where she was an instructor of undergraduate Public Speaking. Leslie has completed executive programs of study at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and at The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Leslie is a results-oriented leader with significant experience architecting and delivering strategic business solutions for Fortune 500 companies. Her leadership experience spans sales and corporate functions, primarily in the financial services industry. Her scope of business architecture and solutions delivery is wide-ranging, including business strategy, human resources, merger and acquisition integration, systems integration, marketing technology and automation, and organization design and change management.

She currently serves as a Group Vice President and Corporate Marketing Director at SunTrust now Truist in Atlanta, GA. In this role, she leads marketing channel and sales enablement and trade show marketing. She led the marketing strategy and program operations for the onUp movement, SunTrust Bank’s national movement to lead people in America to financial confidence. Since launch in 2016, nearly 6 million people have joined the onUp movement. Leslie also held multiple leadership positions in Corporate Human Resources and received the prestigious Gold Performance Excellence Award in 2014 and 2016 for outstanding contributions to SunTrust Bank. 

Prior to her tenure at SunTrust Bank, Leslie held leadership roles in Bank of America Corporation as a Senior Vice President in Global Wholesale Banking and in Corporate Finance. She began her career as a management consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in the Change Management practice group.

Leslie passionately serves the Atlanta community and has been an annual recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award since 2013. An active advocate for public education and Atlanta Public Schools, she was elected to the local school governance team’s Chairperson, in service to Bolton Academy Elementary School. She served on the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Executive Board and is a founding member of the school’s non-profit foundation Board, serving as the Annual Fund chair. Leslie served on the Board for the Atlanta Partners for Education and for the Atlanta Chapter of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). She is a graduate of Leadership Buckhead.

Leslie and her husband, Brian, are the proud parents of a daughter, Walker (12), and a son, John (11). They are members of the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA.



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The University of Southern Mississippi
Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research
118 College Dr. #5162
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001



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