A native New Yorker who has built her career on serving historically marginalized and underserved communities, Lesleigh “LIU” Irish-Underwood is the first-ever Chief External Affairs Officer (CXO) & Head of Brand at Chief External Affairs Officer & Head of Brand, Vibrant Emotional Health. In this role, Lesleigh is responsible for advancing all elements of the nonprofit’s external-facing strategy, and establishing a best-in-class business unit that will encompass integrated marketing & communications, stakeholder engagement, national and state policy, fundraising & development, strategic partnerships, and social impact. Lesleigh is a visionary leader who galvanizes change—with a passion for inspiring people, driving impact, and building high-functioning teams.
Previously, Lesleigh brought executive-level experience and local-market insights to MetroPlusHealth as its first Chief Brand & External Relations Officer, where she expertly stewarded their new brand strategy. A catalyst for creativity and collaboration, she was named both a Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Leader in Advertising, Marketing, and PR, as well as a Notable Black Leader and Executive in 2022.
LIU is the former Chief Marketing Officer for United Way of New York City, and prior to her transition to the nonprofit sector, was a 25-year veteran of the consumer publishing industry, where she held leadership roles at the Knopf Publishing Group of Random House, Pearson, and Kensington Publishing.
A sought-after conference speaker, Irish-Underwood is a member of CHIEF, The Wall Street Journal CMO Network, and sits on the Boards of the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation. LIU earned her B.A. from Stonybrook University, and resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband (another Stony Brook University Seawolf), their daughter, and son.