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Leslie Kirby

Leslie Kirby is the Founder & CEO of the Kirith Institute for Social Justice. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1999 and spent 18 years as a professor at Vanderbilt University. Her research focused on antecedents (appraisals) of emotions, with a particular interest in the differentiation of positive emotional states. She also examined individual and cultural differencesin emotional  experiences and the role of emotions in stress, coping and health. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation as well as the Positive Psychology Network.

During COVID Leslie decided to move on from that role, founding an independent research institute focused on social justice. She also does psychology-related consulting, including groups and organizational management. A particular area of expertise is helping organizations deal effectively with stress in the workplace.

Leslie also does a large amount of philanthropic work. Currently, she serves as the President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, as well as on the board of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). She has previously served on her synagogue board as well as the board of a local Jewish preschool, in addition to numerous local non-Jewish organizations. She has been married to Dr. Craig Smith for 24 years. They have two children and a precious newborn grandson.

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