Women in Business Q&A: Lesley Todaro, Hallowell Todaro Center

05/19/2015 03:49 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2016

Lesley brings a strength-based approach to her work with clients-- moving beyond a negative focus on diagnosis and instead working with each client to help them understand and take advantage of the gifts that often accompany their unique challenges.

The experience of facing some of these challenges in her own family prompted Lesley to deepen her understanding of ADHD through intensive post-graduate training with Dr. Edward Hallowell , a national leader in in the field of ADHD research and treatment.

In addition to her post-graduate training with Dr. Hallowell, Lesley holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy (Antioch University); a B.S in Elementary Education (Lesley University) and certification in the treatment of chemical dependency (CDPT) and GAIN assessment -- a chemical dependency diagnostic tool which she utilized in her practice at SAMA -- the Science And Management of Addition from 2011-2014.

Since 2011 Lesley has served as a member of the Board of the Meridian School.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
The years I spent in psychotherapy helped me to "unwrap my gifts" and definitely enhanced my desire to help others to find the peace of mind that I enjoy.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at the Hallowell Todaro Center?
I have had experience with starting a successful small business in order to support my oldest child when I was a single mom. In addition, I worked with many people who suffer with addiction as they attempted to self-medicate their mental health issues. Many of the clients I worked with were unaware that they had an underlying ADHD diagnosis as they tried desperately to deal with the symptoms they were experiencing.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at the Hallowell Todaro Center?
Working with Dr. Hallowell and watching him magically speak about ADHD and the gifts associated with it, has been incredibly inspiring. It is rewarding to help a client to understand that there are many strengths associated with the ADHD traits they have experienced for most of their lives; especially when these traits have been handled negatively in the past.

The challenges have been the negative articles written about ADHD that scare people and at times fill them with misinformation.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
Go for it! There are so many people who need and want help!

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
To not doubt my intuition and to pursue my dreams.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am very clear about what days I work. I leave room in my schedule to help people in crisis but I do not over book. I am able to add additional professionals to the center as the demand increases. I believe that I am of more value to my clients when I leave time in my life to relax and enjoy my family and friends.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think that it is difficult for women to give themselves permission to live a balanced life. So often, women are responsible for the home in addition to their job and I fear that they try to do it all with no room for themselves to regenerate and breath.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire Angelina Jolie and Hilary Clinton. Both women, although in very different arenas, are able to enjoy enormous careers while loving their families.

What do you want the Hallowell Todaro Center to accomplish in the next year?
I want the Hallowell Todaro Center to continue to serve the community in a cohesive and complete way. We understand that helping adults and children with ADHD to manage their lives and relationships requires blending skills and tools together to provide wrap around care. Having most of the support needed under one roof optimizes the chance to help change lives.