Leela was born in Bangkok, Thailand and grew up in Honolulu. She received three degrees from UC Berkeley, the most recent of which was a PhD in Linguistics. Prior to her role at Punahou School, she was the Executive Director of Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i for over seven years. Besides Hawai‘i and California, Leela has also attended university and worked in Thailand and France and is fluent in the languages of both countries.
In addition to snowboarding and outrigger canoe paddling, Leela spends as much time as possible with her husband and two daughters. She was humbled to be named USA Today’s 2022 Woman of the Year – Hawai‘i Honoree and one of Pacific Business News’ 2018 Women Who Mean Business for her non-profit work and is passionate about social justice. Her unforgettable experiences include participating in the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C., bringing civil rights activist Susan Burton to O‘ahu, interviewing feminist author Roxane Gay onstage at the Hawai‘i Theatre, paddling 36 miles along Kaua‘i’s Na Pali Coast, and receiving a message of support for Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i from Ms. Oprah Winfrey.