By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFRO

The Links  elected Kimberly Jeffries Leonard as its national president, putting her in charge of one of the world’s largest and oldest women’s service organizations. The move came July 3 at the 71-year-old group’s 41st national assembly in Indianapolis, Ind.

“As gatekeepers of justice and our communities, we are in a season like no other,” Jeffries Leonard said in her acceptance remarks, according to a statement. “I am honored to serve as the 17th president of The Links, and I look forward to inspiring our members as we step forward boldly and strategically on the issues we address, the battles we fight, and the way we use our voice.”

Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard was named the new Links National President. (Courtesy photo)

The Links is made up of 15,000 professional women of color in 288 chapters in the United States, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. Its focus rests with enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-American women and other women with African roots.

Jeffries Leonard originally joined The Links in 1996 and is presently a member of its chapter in Arlington, Va. She graduated from its Scott Hawkins Leadership Institute and has led the organization in various roles, most recently as its national vice president.

In her professional life, Jeffries Leonard was deputy director of the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Currently, she’s president and chief executive officer of Envision Consulting in Washington D.C. and chairwoman of the District of Columbia’s Commission of African American Affairs.

On June 24, the AFRO recognized Jeffries Leonard for her community contributions with its “Women in Excellence Reaching Higher” award.

Meanwhile, Jeffries Leonard is the third person from the Arlington Links Chapter to serve as national president. Her predecessors are Pauline Ellison and Dolly Adams.