She’s a cancer survivor, champion fisherman, licensed pilot, & CEO—but for Cheryl McLeskey, the greatest achievements are the ones accomplished on behalf of others.
Reeling in fish from her boat’s fighting chair; flying patients to medical facilities while seated in her cockpit; negotiating real estate deals from her office chair; or choosing a recliner at a cancer center for chemotherapy treatments. Whenever Cheryl McLeskey takes a seat, she means business.
Her adventurous and fearless spirit is a legacy she inherited in part from her dad, a World War II frogman. Later, after marrying her husband, F. Wayne McLeskey Jr., an aviator and avid angler, Cheryl developed a passion for flying and competitive fishing. These interests prompted her to earn her pilot’s license. Eventually, she landed a 94-pound billfish in the White Marlin Open and became the first woman to win in the tournament’s 42-year history.
Yet through all these achievements and successes—including taking the helm as President and Chief Executive Officer of McLeskey, her late husband’s commercial and residential real estate development and leasing company, Cheryl’s focus remains fixed on how she can impact others for good.
“I believe God blesses people with financial resources, not as a reward for their good works, but as a tool to do good for other people,” says Cheryl.
And good she has done.
“Regent teaches students to carry with them the very important attribute of servant leadership … to be humble, like Jesus. That doesn’t mean to take a back seat and not express your ideas—it just means you think about serving others first.”
Cheryl helps fly patients in need of medical treatment through the Angel Flight program. She serves on more than half a dozen boards, including Operation Blessing, Crush Cancer, Stop Abuse, and Military Aviation Museum. She established a deep-sea fishing tournament to honor her late husband, who passed away in 2012 from lymphoma. And after being diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2017, Cheryl is now a survivor and tireless advocate, having helped raise over $1 million for cancer research.
She’s also a lifelong friend of Regent University and its founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. McLeskey served on the board of trustees for Regent from 2006-2013 and is a longstanding financial supporter of the university and its students.
“The ability to really impact the world can best be accomplished by investing in smart, well-trained, critically thinking Christian leaders, who can be a remarkable force for good,” she says. “To contribute to Regent by helping to build up the quality of the programs, bring in world-class faculty, and provide students with scholarships so they can afford to get a higher education degree … these are all things that are very meaningful to me.”
In all of these endeavors, she values most the opportunity to serve the Lord from the best “seat” in the house—the seat of servant leadership.
“It’s all about serving others to lead effectively rather than leading so others can serve us,” says Cheryl. “Regent teaches students to carry with them the very important attribute of servant leadership … to be humble, like Jesus. That doesn’t mean to take a back seat and not express your ideas—it just means you think about serving others first.”