Leslie Frécon

Chairman and CEO, LFE Capital
Leslie Frécon

Twelve years ago, I was a senior executive at General Mills. I had been promoted into that role five years earlier with some fanfare because I was the youngest senior vice president at the time as well as the first female senior vice president. So that was exciting.

However, as the years went by in that position, I lost my sense of purpose in the role and felt a bit isolated and ineffective. I remember that at every retirement party I attended, I found myself wishing it were my own. I was a little young to be thinking along those lines! I had a wonderful 17 years at the company, but I finally realized, ‘It’s time to go.’ I didn’t go with a plan—I just left.

When my husband saw his normally focused and driven executive wife struggling, he found me a referral to a firm called CEO Perspectives. I started working with Dick Clarke, a retired public company CEO who coached executives. Over the next year, Dick helped me rebuild my confidence and put together a new life plan. He made me focus on what really mattered to me and what I needed in order to feel fulfilled, both personally and professionally. We developed a detailed plan that ultimately resulted in me founding LFE Capital, the private equity investment management firm I currently lead. We’ve been in business now for over a decade and are raising our third fund.

I can’t imagine retiring now. I love what I’m doing. The beauty of what I do is that my ability to contribute benefits from age and experience, so I hope to be able to work in my field a long time. It is energizing to help businesses grow,