On a winter day in 2006, Lesly went to cheer on her brother at a local karate tournament. Also in attendance that day was a director at Atria Westchase, a nearby senior living community in Houston.

The community was looking for a new receptionist — and Lesly made an impression with her natural exuberance and charisma. The director handed her a business card, as well as an invitation to interview for the open position.

Within a week, Lesly had started a new job, and had taken the first steps on a remarkable career journey.

Recently recognized as a ‘Rising Star’ by McKnight’s Senior Living, in May she’ll be inducted in its Women of Distinction class of 2024.

The award confirms what her Atria and Holiday by Atria colleagues have experienced firsthand. In her young career, Lesly flourished in multiple roles and displayed an exceptional commitment to community, resident well-being, and employee development.


As receptionist of Atria Westchase, Lesly excelled.  She found working at the community inspiring, and sought additional opportunities to support the dining, daily activities, and memory care teams.

Her aptitude and ability to connect with people was quickly recognized, and she was soon promoted to Engage Life Director.

In this position, Lesly began leading a team and developed her own management style.

“I believe we can all be leaders,” Lesly says. “Leadership is about seeing the best in people and drawing out their talents to serve a greater goal. I listen to people and I see their talents. That’s how I build a team.”

To broaden her knowledge in multiple areas of the industry, Lesly also served as Life Guidance Director before being promoted to Assistant Executive Director, and then Executive Director of Atria Westchase in 2015.

Under her leadership, the community earned four consecutive Quality Enhancement awards through Atria’s rigorous quality assessment program.

“Each time I went into a new role I had the support of my supervisors,” Lesly says. “They saw my energy and wanted me to succeed. I’m grateful to be at a company that genuinely wants people to succeed and provides them the tools to do so.”

In 2018, Lesly took on a new challenge as National Operations Specialist -— a unique position within Atria that serves multiple communities and helps them solidify processes to provide the best possible experience for residents.

During the pandemic, she led an Atria community in Florida and brought a calm confidence to directors and frontline staff to help navigate a turbulent regulatory climate.

Most recently, Lesly was promoted to Regional Vice President within the Holiday by Atria portfolio. She now oversees operational leadership for twelve communities and is responsible for sales strategy, occupancy, net operating income, as well as customer and employee satisfaction.

She also builds effective teams and puts others on a successful career path much like her own.

“That’s the best part of my job — helping other people reach their career goals. When someone has the energy and eagerness, they have the tools. I hold them accountable, introduce mentors and pair the right training,” she says.

Lesly’s mother immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, and now owns an insurance business along with Lesly’s father. Lesly credits her parents for modeling a strong work ethic and proving that anything can be achieved with proper dedication.

On a journey that began from a chance meeting at a karate tournament till today, Lesly continues to prove the same.