The 40 Under 40 Award is presented by StarNews Media and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the award is to recognize young professionals who are doing great things in our community. Recipients had to be younger than 40 years old as of Dec. 31, 2019; live or work in Brunswick, New Hanover or Pender counties; and display a commitment to serving others in the community.
Birthplace: State College, Pennsylvania
Where do you live now? Wilmington
Employer, job title: Leath HR Group, president and chief practitioner
Who are your immediate family members? Hubby – Andy Almeter; kids – Ellie and Mickie Almeter; mom & dad – Betsy Buckley, Ken Leath; sisters – Katie Leath, Christina Elmore
Education: BS – Labor and Employment Relations from Penn State University
What groups are you affiliated with? United Way Cape Fear Area Board of Directors, 2014-2020 (chair, 2016-2018, vice-chair, 2015-2016, director, member of nominating and marketing committees 2016-2020); Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (chair of Personnel Committee 2019-2021, Economic Scorecard Committee member); Communities in Schools Board of Directors, 2019-2022; SHRM Senior Certified Professional and Member, PSU Alumni Association Lifetime Member; Wilma Women to Watch Mentor; Wilma Institute Speaker; Wrightsville Beach Flotilla
What are your guiding principles? You be you. You’re only in control of one person and that’s yourself. I’ve built a network of friends and colleagues who enjoy being around the real me and it’s gold.
How do you volunteer your time in the community? I give, advocate and volunteer on behalf of the three not-for-profit boards that I sit on. Anytime we’re given the opportunity to get out in the community and spend some time with the folks on the front lines, my husband and I are there. If we can bring the kids, we do.
Who has helped you achieve success in your life and career? My husband has been my biggest cheerleader for the last seven years. On a daily basis, he is brainstorming with me about life and business, which is awesome because he’s so analytical, which is the yin to my yang! My parents set me up for success by giving me a great life, in part due to sacrifices they made as returning adult students. My mom is a retired HR exec and my dad is an entrepreneur, so I’ve blended their worlds in my business, Leath HR Group. I’ve also had great bosses who put me out there on large-scale, stretch assignments and projects. Shout out to Annette Scardia, Manny Miliotis, Kadianne McPherson.
What goal would you like to accomplish before turning 40? Professionally, I’d like to sit on a for-profit board before 40. Personally, I’d like to attend ½ the field trips I’m invited to, with my kids’ school!
Favorite book: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama was fantastic.
Hobbies: Boating with my family and shopping at TJ Maxx.
Most prized possession: An original photo that my grandmother gave me, shortly before she passed away, when I was 6. She was a professional tap dancer and it’s a great photo of her and about 10 other women, posing in their 1950s tap dance costumes.
If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be? “Carry On” by Fun.