Leslie Woo

Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Headshot of Leslie Woo


Main bio

Leslie Woo CRE® is a respected city leader with over 25 years of lived experience and expertise in building sustainable communities and shaping urban development in Canada’s fastest-growing city – Toronto and the surrounding urban region. As CEO at CivicAction since September 2020, Woo is leading the transformation of civil society’s role in collaboratively accelerating solutions to complex urban challenges. CivicAction is a premier civic engagement organization that convenes established and rising leaders from all sectors, backgrounds, and experiences, with a two-decade track record of impact. 

Woo is a tri-sector athlete with experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors as well as her experience as a planner, architect, and community activator. Before joining CivicAction, Leslie was Chief Planning and Development Officer at Metrolinx, the regional transportation public agency, where she led the planning, policy and land development of a multi-billion dollar, multi-modal transit expansion programme for over twelve years.  

Woo is actively engaged on the boards of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, a unique organization providing culturally appropriate long-term care and Waterfront Toronto, a tri-partite crown agency, responsible for the largest waterfront regeneration in North America. Woo holds global leadership roles with the Urban Land Institute as a Trustee and as a member of the Curtis Infrastructure Initiative’s Global Advisory Board. Woo has held past Board positions on YMCA GTA and more recently with Womens College Hospital.

An accomplished leader, Woo was named Bisnow’s 2019 Toronto Power Women in Commercial Real Estate, one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017 by WXN, Spacing Toronto’s Transit Changemaker in 2016 and Canada’s Women’s Infrastructure Network’s 2015 Outstanding Leader.  

In 2011, Woo was awarded a Leadership Fellowship from the International Women’s Forum, which inspired her to create shebuildscities.org, where Leslie uses her voice and platform to amplify and celebrate other women city builders.  

Woo holds a graduate degree in Planning, and undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Environmental Studies. 

Updated July 2023