Leslie is an award-winning television host with close to 30 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. She began her career as a television news anchor and worked in numerous major markets. Spanning three decades, her on-air experience has ranged from broadcast news, television show host and on-camera corporate spokesperson, to hosting several award-winning series of nature documentaries, live medical webcasts, supporting film roles and more. Her voice can be heard in countless national television and radio commercials, as well as corporate videos and advertising for hundreds of political candidates.
Some highlights of Leslie’s broadcast career include winning a National ACE award for a sports comedy cable television show; she was the Court Reporter on the nationally syndicated daily Court TV show, JUDGE MATHIS; and was the Executive Producer and host of a regional tourism show in Pennsylvania.
As President of the Merrill Advisory Group, Leslie has consulted for a wide variety of clients, specializing in executive media coaching, communications, public and government relations, as well as fundraising for non-profits.
For nine years, Leslie worked for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as both a television host, and as Senior Consultant for Government Relations. The scope of her work included meetings with President Obama, Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Sebelius, DHS Secretary Napolitano, US Ambassador to Italy David Thorne, with the White House for the G-20 in 2009 and more. Leslie also initiated a system-wide effort in collaboration with Wounded Warrior Project to recruit and provide veterans with meaningful employment opportunities.
Leslie regularly hosted community events and served on numerous Boards and committees throughout the region, including the Military Affairs Council, Pittsburgh International Airport (community liaison,) the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and more. During the 2005 Base Realignment And Closure Commission (BRAC), she wrote, produced, directed, hosted and presented the video to the commissioners at the national hearing, which helped save the 911th Airlift Wing, (Airlift Mobility Command.)
Prior to her leadership position in government relations, Leslie served as the Director of Public Relations for UPMC Health Plan, serving as spokesperson and information source for all media contacts, managing the development, implementation and coordination of all internal and external communications and public relations, and establishing a leadership role for UPMC Health Plan throughout PA, including the Rendell Administration.
Leslie is most passionate about her social-minded work, particularly with Veterans and animals, volunteering in various capacities as an advocate for our Nation’s Bravest, including her work the Military Affairs Council, and serving on the Board of Directors of numerous humane societies throughout her television career; no-**** animal shelters, the Pittsburgh Zoo, the national Pig Placement Network, and also as a Director on the Board of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Merrill has had a life-long passion and dedication to providing disaster relief work around the globe, and her quick response to the desperate and immediate need for help in Haiti in 2010 was no different. She successfully coordinated the first rescue mission to Haiti just days after the earthquake, arriving on the first non-military aircraft to land in Port-au-Prince. She and her team evacuated 54 orphans and returned them to the safety of their newly adoptive families in the US, Spain and Canada. She and her son, Herbie, made five subsequent medical emergency trips in the following months.
Leslie has worked continuously since August, 2017, providing relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria.