Steven H. Lesnik

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Career Education Corporation

Steve LesnikFrom his journalistic roots, to founding and operating successful corporations, Steven H. Lesnik has become a recognized presence and trusted voice in higher education, public relations and sports marketing and management. Lesnik also has assumed significant roles serving and leading charitable and professional organizations.

Lesnik became Chairman of the Board of Career Education Corporation in 2008, two years after his initial election to the board.  Based in suburban Chicago, Career Education is a $2 billion publicly traded company that provides postsecondary education through more than 90 campuses in the United States and Western Europe and is a leader in online educational services. Among its schools are Le Cordon Bleu in North America, Colorado Technical University, American InterContinental University, the International University of Monaco, and the Paris-based INSEEC Group.  Lesnik became President and CEO of Career Education in November 2011.

Actively committed to educational advancement, Lesnik previously served on the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), which oversees all Illinois public universities and community colleges.  The IBHE develops educational policy and coordinates more than $3 billion a year in public support in the form of operating subsidies, grants, student assistance and capital funds for Illinois institutions of higher education.  Appointed to the post by the Governor of Illinois, Lesnik held the post of Chairman of the Board.

Lesnik served for a number of years as a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. For a decade, he served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Foundation and on its Executive Committee.

Lesnik graduated from Brown University with a B.A. before beginning his career as a reporter and columnist with the Stamford Advocate, then the second largest daily newspaper in Connecticut.

The foundations of his career were built at Kemper Insurance Companies, where he led public and government relations, as well as corporate advertising and marketing promotions.  When Lesnik was elected a vice president at Kemper he was the youngest person ever elected as an officer of the company.  Lesnik soon launched his first company, Lesnik Public Relations, which later became KemperLesnik Communications.  Four years later, he founded KemperSports, which is now one of the largest developer/owner/operators of golf properties in the United States.

During the course of his successful career, Lesnik also has committed time and resources to several charitable endeavors.  He recently retired as a national trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He also founded The First Tee of Chicago, a local chapter organization to provide funding and operate affordable and accessible golf facilities and learning programs for young people. He has chaired the organization since its inception in 2000.

Lesnik currently lives in Winnetka, Ill., with his wife Mady, who has worked alongside him at KemperSports and KemperLesnik since their inception. The couple has two children, Dr. Blaine Lesnik, a clinical psychologist in Chicago, and Josh Lesnik, currently the president of KemperSports, as well as three young grandchildren.


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PSCUs open doors to many of the 9.1 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills.PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.