Q&A with Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce President
Our Celebrating Local Champions Reception is just three weeks away! We’re excited for this once-a-year event, but we’re even more excited to showcase the generous individuals that make Forest Hills a great community for our organization to call home.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our honoree: Leslie Brown, President of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce.
Q: How did you get involved with the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce?
A: I became involved with the Forest Hills Chamber as a small business owner. I was asked to join the Board of Directors and when the president resigned I was elected president in 2001. I joined my mother in the family business, Kidlines, Ltd.. We owned Kidlines a children’s clothing and toy store for over 35 years. I am proud to say that although the store has a new owner it still remains a children’s boutique to this day.
Q: What is your hometown?
A: I really consider Forest Hills my home town as I moved here with my parents when I was four years old.
Q: Name a person who has inspired you and why?
A: My mother Lois Brown has been an inspiration to me. She was the first woman to graduate from Indiana University with a degree in harp. She moved with my Dad to New York from a very small town in South Dakota to have a career in music. She opened her first small business, a women’s boutique located in Greenwich Village in 1967. A few years later, she opened our children’s shop in Forest Hills. My mom was always active in the community and I learned so much about life and business from her.
Q: What is the thing you love most about Forest Hills and/or Queens?
A: I love the diversity in Queens. Living and working in one of the most multi-cultural places in the world creates such wonderful experiences - getting to know about other people and their customs, enjoying different foods and blending together makes Queens so vital and vibrant! Forest Hills has a nickname “A Garden in the City.” Forest Hills can really make you feel like you are in a small town but you are just a short ride away from the city. There is a lot of history here, from the beautiful Forest Hills Gardens to the stunning architecture and iconic landmarks. Plus, there is great dining and shopping right at your doorstep!
Q: Why do you think we need local nonprofits, not just national ones?
A: Local nonprofits support local community needs; without them I do not think we would be as finely attuned to the pulse of our communities.
Q: What work have you done to make Forest Hills a better place to live for all?
A: I believe bringing businesses and residents together fosters a healthy community to grow families and to grow companies. Since I have been president, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce has more than doubled its membership. I see businesses connecting with each other and opening up connections in the community. I have a mission called the 3 C’s - commerce, culture and community. Commerce makes the community thrive and culture brings the community together. As President of the Chamber, I have founded and am the producer of the Forest Hills Festival of the Arts, Jazz Thursdays Free Outdoor Concerts and Celebrate Winter. These cultural, free family events bring the community together and bring thousands of visitors from all five boroughs to Forest Hills.
Q: Why did you decide to show your support for Queens Community House?
A: Queens Community House supports all residents from kids to teens, from adults to seniors. The fact that QCH is actively involved in advocating for issues affecting our community is extremely important. I firmly believe in the approach that QCH takes in the programs offered, and the support offered to all the people of Queens has and continues to make a difference in people’s lives.
To learn more about our Annual Celebrating Local Champions reception or to purchase tickets, click HERE.