Leanne Kleinmann


I began my career as a writer and editor the day after I graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I headed to New York, where I worked for women’s consumer magazines, including McCall’s and Seventeen. I eventually became Managing Editor of Health, just as aerobics became a lifestyle and breast cancer a crusade.

After my husband and I were married, I took what I'd learned in New York back to Northwestern, where I taught magazine writing and editing to graduate journalism students.

When we moved to Memphis in 1990, I joined Memphis magazine as Editor, the perfect way to learn a quirky and fascinating city. Memphis launched me into the newsroom of The Commercial Appeal, Memphis’s metro daily, where I spent 15 happy years.

At The CA, I led the feature section (with 14 talented reporters and editors ... those were the days), wrote editorials, and edited two award-winning columnists. I developed many special sections and new products, including a circulation-boosting (and record-breaking) section on the 20th anniversary of Elvis’s death in 1997. I was the senior woman on the masthead for most of my time at The CA.

When we saw that women readers age 25–45 were deserting the newspaper, I launched the paper's first blog, iDivaMemphis, in 2005, and developed it into an award-winning multi-channel digital news platform. I was also the founding editor of Skirt! in Memphis, a sassy print and digital magazine franchise for women.

I saw an entirely new part of the world as Director of Advancement at St. Mary’s Episcopal School. In my seven years there, I led the school's development efforts and guided alumnae relations and communications, including a major rebranding effort (with a new visual identity and logo), a new and award-winning admission suite, and a strategic redesign of the web site.  

As the founder of Leanne Kleinmann Communications, I love to ask questions, I listen well, and I am both a connector of dots and a contrarian. My clients range from innovative nonprofits to pillar-of-the-community companies to nationally recognized schools. In addition to exceeding my clients’ expectations every day, my passions include singing, walking across the Mississippi River, racial justice, early morning yoga, and my family.


Writing: Effective development communications, engaging newsletter copy, editorial columns, white papers, newsmaking speeches, executive communication, blog posts, targeted social media. I can help you find just the right words.

Editing: Magazines, annual reports, internal communication, marketing collateral, fundraising letters, and campaign case statements. I can clarify and direct messages of all kinds.

Public Relations: Campaigns, positioning, media relations, digital strategy, and crisis communication counsel. I can help your great ideas get heard.

Development: Donor communication strategy, writing, coaching, and staff development. Want to increase your connection to your donors so you can raise more money? I can help.

Strategy: I work with you to assess your culture, environment, and needs, develop an overall communication or development plan, help staff prioritize, and execute at the highest level.