Lesli Suggs, LICSW, President and CEO, The Home for Little Wanderers Inc. 


By Sue Coyle

Lesli Suggs

The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston serves vulnerable children up to age 26 and their families through a variety of programs covering foster care and adoption, residential services, education and behavioral health. The home serves more than 15,000 youth and family members every year and does so under the leadership of president and CEO Lesli Suggs, LICSW.

Suggs has been a social worker for more than 30 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Texas Christian University and moved to Massachusetts shortly after graduating, looking for a change as she launched her career. With that move and first job, she not only found a new home but also a passion for serving children and families. “I was a residential counselor in a group home that served adolescents,” Suggs says of the position. “I really enjoyed the relationships I was able to make and figuring out the things that would help [the adolescents] help themselves.”

A self-described “typical first-born kid,” Suggs quickly gravitated toward and proved to be skilled at leadership positions in social work. She moved from residential counselor to supervisor and as she further transitioned into overseeing programming, Suggs found her niche. “The impact that I had was different, but I also had more control in shaping the outcome.”

Suggs returned to school for her master’s degree six years after earning her bachelor’s, attending Simmons University. While Suggs knew she would likely have a career in leadership, she pursued the clinical track. “I made sure that I was in the clinical program, so I had more insight into diagnoses and the way trauma impacts the brain.”

As Suggs’ career further progressed, she says staying open to opportunities has helped her moved forward. “Don’t take yourself out of opportunity before you know that you really should close the door or the door is closed for you,” she says.

In addition to her work at the Home, Suggs is on the boards of the International Women’s Forum, the Association for Behavioral Health, The Provider’s Council, and The Children’s League. She was named one of Boston Business Journal’s 2023 Women Who Mean Business and was one of the Top 100 Women Business Leaders in Massachusetts two years in a row.

Suggs has three children and a partner, and says both professionally and personally, “I feel really, really fortunate.”

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