Leslie Tompkins joined the Yonkers YMCA as a teenager and became employed working with the “boot blacks” and “newsboys”, the school dropouts of the 1900s. He graduated from Springfield College in 1918 shortly before entering the military. After his service, he joined the Maine State YMCA Committee, where he helped to found the Maine State YMCA Camp.
He served as general secretary of the Gloversville (N.Y.) and Amsterdam (N.Y.) YMCAs. He then joined the New York State YMCA Executive Committee, where he had training and support responsibilities for railroad and city associations. In 1937, he became the executive for personnel services of the National Council of YMCAs. He helped to implement a new approach to personnel policies and established a new certification system.
In 1946, he was named associate general secretary and served as executive of field services on the national staff until his retirement in 1957. He also served eight years as the executive director of the Association of Secretaries.
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