Hospitality/Tourism: LESLIE GREENE BOWMAN
PRESIDENT, THOMAS JEFFERSON FOUNDATION, CHARLOTTESVILLE
Bowman joined Charlottesville’s Thomas Jefferson Foundation as its president in 2008. The nonprofit owns and operates Monticello, the mountaintop plantation of the third U.S. president and author of the Declaration of Independence.
Although she’s the lead caretaker of one of America’s most important historic estates, Bowman doesn’t live in the past; rather, she looks for places where the country’s third president fits naturally into modern-day conversations. When Russia invaded Ukraine this winter, the foundation released a statement in support of Ukraine and democracy. Similarly, after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville for the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally, Bowman wrote about how “unresolved legacies of slavery and inequality continue to impact our society.”
Bowman has made numerous efforts to ensure the foundation tells the stories of the enslaved people who lived at Monticello. Perhaps most importantly, she unveiled a powerful 2018 exhibit on Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who is widely believed by historians to be the mother of six of Jefferson’s biological children.
Bowman earned a degree in American history and art history from Miami University and a master’s degree in early American culture as a Winterthur Fellow at the University of Delaware.