Chamber Insider Blog

Meet the Finalists! Loudoun Literacy Council

To see the FULL list of SBA Finalists, click here.
Thanks, Leslie Mazeska of Loudoun Literacy Council, and congratulations on your nomination! 
Click here to see all of the “Meet the Finalists” posts.  
The 22nd Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards is Friday, November 4th!  Register Here

1.  Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
Loudoun Literacy Council has been providing literacy services in Loudoun County since 1980. Our programs have evolved over time from English tutoring services for recently arrived refugees to extensive literacy enrichment opportunities for adults and children through both our Adult and Family Literacy Programs. Our Adult Literacy Program provides small group classes and individual tutoring for adults seeking assistance in basic literacy, English for speakers of other languages, and GED preparation.

Since 1998, our Family Literacy Program has provided the federally mandated, but unfunded literacy enrichment component to the Head Start program in Loudoun County Public Schools, which includes family literacy events to involve all members of the families served. Our Sweet Dreams Program models reading aloud for families and provides literacy activities for families residing in two local homeless shelters, while the Baby Book Bundles provides literacy tips and baby books to at-risk new parents. Our service delivery model is to train volunteers to serve as instructors and readers in our various programs. We utilize a network of more than 150 trained volunteers to bring our programs to life within the Loudoun County community.

Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. We believe that literacy is essential to achieving community-wide aspirations of developing young learners, strengthening families, enabling parents to participate in the education of their children, and ensuring access to opportunities for economic advancement.

Our vision is to be the leading literacy organization in Loudoun County providing access for all residents to the literacy tools and resources necessary to gain the skills they need to take the most basic and meaningful step toward achieving success and contributing to the community.
2.  What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
It would be gratifying and validating for Loudoun Literacy Council to win a Small Business Award because it would mean that not only do our staff, volunteers and students see the value in the work that we do, but that the greater community sees the importance and value of literacy in our community.

3.  If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing?
I’ve always worked in fields where I was helping or serving others and the likelihood that that would change is slim since it’s just my nature.  However, I do love to cook, so if I completely changed direction, I could see running a small catering company or offering cooking classes as a fun endeavor.  Maybe I’ll pursue that passion in retirement.

4.  What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
Right now I am reading three different books with my kids:  Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary with my youngest daughter, The Doll People series by Ann M. Martin with my older daughter, and The Eighth Day by Dianne Salerni with my son for his middle school book club. I also just finished The Girl on the Train and am looking for something new to start.  We do a lot of reading in our house, which is fitting since I run the Literacy Council.

5.  What is your favorite app (computer/phone)?
I’m not a huge app user, but I do enjoy doodle for scheduling group activities and getting a sense of who is available for various activities and mapquest seems to do a better job of giving me directions than the GPS in my car.

6.  If you have 24 hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
If I had the house to myself I’d enjoy the silence, pour myself a glass of wine and relax with a good book.

7.  What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
Volunteerism has made the biggest impact on Loudoun Literacy Council.  We have a very small staff but are able to serve a tremendous number of community members because of the tremendous generosity of our volunteers.  We simply would not be able to provide quantity and quality of service to our community without our amazing volunteers.

8.   What did you want to be when you grew up? / What was a childhood dream that you had?
When I was young I always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I was fortunate to have had a number of amazing teachers as a kid who really helped shape my love of learning. And while I have never been a classroom teacher, education has played a significant role in nearly all of my work experience.

9.  Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
I don’t think I can pinpoint any single person who has had the greatest influence in my career.  I think each stepping stone along my career path has had various degrees of influence in my work both positive and negative and I’ve taken what I have learned from each experience and applied it to the best of my ability in the work I do each day.

10.  What is your favorite thing about living/running a business in Loudoun County?
Loudoun County is a great place to live and work as it offers such a wide array of opportunities for everyone. Loudoun County is also a very caring community as demonstrated by the dedication of our volunteers every day.  It is a community that makes me proud to call home. My favorite thing about living and working in Loudoun County is being able to give back to my home community through work that is personally meaningful and strengthening our community as a result. 


The 22nd Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards is Friday, November 4th!  Register Here