Background & Experience

During her extensive executive and management consulting career, Ilene has worked in North America, South America, Asia and Europe, across hundreds of assignments.

She started her consulting career at McKinsey & Company, as one of the first women management consultants in the Firm consulting in

  • Public Policy to New York City (taxation, housing, model cities, budgeting and planning), Ohio (housing), Pennsylvania (revenue generation), Massachusetts (controlling health care costs), Michigan (Social Services) and the UK Department of Trade and Industry
  • Executive Resources Management for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in a wide variety of industries including entertainment (Columbia Pictures Industries, CBS Records), retail, telecommunications (AT&T, Bell System), utilities (PSE&G), consumer goods (PepsiCo), industrial goods (Xerox, BASF).

Among changes she worked on are:

  • Taxing the lead in gasoline that encouraged the sale of unleaded gas
  • Taxing tar and nicotine in cigarettes
  • Developing the first recycling tax for containers
  • Designing a cost effective, high quality health care system focused on prepaid group practices delivering preventive care
  • Recommending major companies implement affirmative action plans and equal employment opportunity to avoid getting fined $millions for discriminatory practices
  • Designing the first CEO Pay/Performance Index.

She was one of two highest ranking women corporate executives at Revlon, Inc., as head of worldwide Human Resources starting the first cohesive system of policies and programs when the company was $2.4 billion cosmetics, fragrances and health care company with 35,000 employees operating in 70 countries.

She launched the international human resources function for the Estee Lauder Companies in 26 countries, prepared the company to go public, worked on organization effectiveness, strategy and developed new product concepts. Some are successful in the marketplace today.

She was appointed to the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Housing & Urban Development responsible for 1,200 people in 80 offices, managing the $140 million information technology function, establishing the HUD Academy and implementing the first distance learning capability through out the USA.

During the era of Internet start-ups she established the Human Resources Strategies practice at Eisner & Co., now EisnerAmper.

Board Associations & Activities

In addition to her consulting work she serves as National Advisory Board member of First Book and of First Artists. She helped build the organization as a leader in literacy giving 100 million new books to children from low income families to read and own. She advised on strategic plan for First Book Marketplace,, an online source of new books for nonprofits. The plan won the Yale School of Management/Goldman Sachs Foundation Business Plan competition.

For First Book, she is currently advising on strategy for digital resources using new technology for literacy.

She is an Advisory Board member of, an education technology company.

She is a member of New York Human Resources People & Strategy NYHRPS, Society for Human Resource Management SHRM and World at Work, formerly the American Compensation Association.

Her past Board associations include Executive Committee member, U.S. Department of Labor Business Research Advisory Council and Chair of Committee on Employment and Unemployment; Treasurer and Executive Committee member of The Fashion Group International and of the NY Human Resource Planners. She was a Board member of the Financial Women’s Association and is a member of FWA 25+. She co-chaired her University of Pennsylvania Class Gift raising $2.2 million. She is leading an initiative of the Connecticut Community Foundation to engage proven leaders and accomplished professionals in community service.

Other associations include:

  • Senior delegate to the Sino-US Conference on Economic Relations and Trade in Beijing and Shanghai.
  • In Florida, she is an alum of Greater Naples Leadership, co-founded First Book Collier County and was a Board member of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida.
  • She received Woman of Achievement Award for Community service from AAUW, 2009.
  • Titan of Industry Award from leadership program of Chamber of Commerce and Hodges University, 2008.

Articles & Speaking

An expert consultant, Ilene Leff is quoted in publications such as, Business Finance. She speaks at conferences, including: the Harvard Business School Women’s Alumni Network, The INDUS Entrepreneurs and others. Recently she led a live webinar for the Land Trust Alliance.


Ilene is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, holds a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University and completed an Executive Program at Stanford Business School. She previously taught at College of Mt. St. Vincent and at The New School in New York and co-led an Interfaith Women’s Study Group with an Episcopal priest.

She recently completed courses on She studies drawing and painting at the New York Studio School and the Washington (CT) Art Association and exhibits publicly.