Lilo and Gerard Leeds

Terrence Real

Susan Seliger


Lilo and Gerard Leeds met in a ski lodge in the Adirondack Mountains in 1950, were married in 1951 and now, 56 years later, have a family of five children and 13 grandchildren.

They are both refugees from Nazi Germany. They arrived in the U.S. with virtually no money, but eventually became successful business entrepreneurs, and continued more recently as social entrepreneurs, with a primary focus on improving the education of children in poor communities. In 1971, they launched the now highly successful publishing company, CMP Media, Inc., which became a leading publisher of business newspapers, magazines and Internet services for the high-tech industries-electronics, communication and computers. They established a set of principles for the company that became a guide for all their future business and management activities. The company became known for its excellent socially responsible policies, its great products, its great services and, especially, for its pioneering on-site infant and child day care center established by Lilo Leeds. Fortune and Working Mother magazine repeatedly cited CMP as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For."

In 1988, Lilo and Gerry transferred the management of the company to two of their sons, Michael and Daniel, who accelerated the growth and profitability of the company while expanding its socially responsible management. In 1990, they founded and chaired the Institute for Student Achievement, now a major force in school reform for children in poor communities with approximately 20,000 high school students in 60 high schools. (That number is expected to double in the next two years.) The goal of the Institute is to improve the education of children in poor communities, who grow up in poverty, to succeed-first by completing their high school education, and then by going on to college or other post-secondary education and become educated, productive, contributing adults.

Together, Lilo and Gerry serve on the Institute's Board of Directors, and are on the boards of several other organizations working on education issues, including the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Caroline and Sigmund Schott Foundation and Schott Center for Public and Early Education, and the Lipmanson Foundation.
Gerry Leeds was instrumental in the founding of a new organization, Alliance for Excellent Education, Inc., which is committed to making an excellent education the right of every child, a national policy, and a reality within the decade. Lilo Leeds has made education for students in less affluent communities, universal early education and the advancement of women the focus of her work. Lilo is co-founder and member of the board of the Schott Center for Public and Early Education, the Great Neck/Manhasset Community Child Care Partnership and a member of the board of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance. Gerry is a member of the board of COPAY, and is also the co-founder of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching (NAfET) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Gerry and Lilo are recipients of a large number of civic awards, including Socially Responsible Entrepreneurs of the Year, LIA Humanitarian Award, and Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for NSFRE/L.I. They were honored by the Urban League of L.I., the NYS Chapter of NAACP, the NYS United Teachers Association, and the American Jewish Committee. They were cited by Newsday in its report on "100 Who Shaped a Century," and were also among the 10 honorees selected by WCBS-TV for recognition in its annual "Fulfilling the Dream" celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lilo earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Queens College and her master's degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Both institutions have since awarded her honorary doctorates, and she was honored at Adelphi and Hofstra Universities in May 2006. Gerry pursued an education in engineering and business management, spent three years as an electronics specialist in the U.S. Army, and then developed a high-tech career during the early years of Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor of Arts and Science and an honorary doctorate from Adelphi University and a masters of arts and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. He has taught management at Long Island University and Hofstra University, and lectures annually to MBA students on socially responsible business management.


Terrence Real has been a family therapist and teacher for more than 20 years. The bestselling author of I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (Scribner, 1997), How Can I Get Through to You? Reconnecting Men and Women (Scribner, 2002) and The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work, Terry knows how to lead couples on a step-by-step journey to greater intimacy-and greater personal fulfillment. A senior faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge in Massachusetts and a Clinical Fellow of the Meadows Institute in Arizona, Terry founded his own center, the Relational Life Institute, in March of 2002. Through his books, the Institute and workshops around the country, Terry helps women and men break through outdated notions to find true connection and satisfaction. Terry's work, with its rigorous commonsense approach, speaks to both men and women. His ideas on men's issues and on couple's therapy have been celebrated in venues from NBC's Today and 20/20, to Oprah and The New York Times.


Susan Seliger is an award-winning writer, magazine editor, editorial and marketing consultant and professional storyteller. She is the author of Stop Killing Yourself: Make Stress Work for You; a chapter of that health book is currently on display as an interactive exhibit called, "How Old Are You Really?" in half a dozen science museums across the U.S. and in Belfast, Ireland.

A former deputy editor of Good Housekeeping and Working Mother Magazine and deputy editor in magazine development at Hearst and a consulting editor in magazine development at Time Inc., Seliger has helped launch several national Web sites and her articles have appeared in dozens of leading publications, including New York Magazine, Family Circle, Redbook, Travel & Leisure, USA Today, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald.


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