40 under 40 — Jay Leblang

Beta Tau, 2004 — Recognized in: 2018

Jay LeblangJay Harris Leblang (BT ’04) is an engineering senior manager at Citrix Systems where he oversees project coordination, initiation, management, and execution for all US Public Sector clients. Leblang has excelled in his professional career, but his impact within the community is obvious to all.

Leblang founded the Jena Ashley Smiles 929 Foundation, and serves as the chair and lead coordinator for fundraising and activities. He leads the foundation’s board and has a personal contribution in every activity – fundraising, outreach, and planning – that the foundation performs. Therefore, Leblang has a direct impact upon all of the foundation’s output.

The Jena Ashley Smiles 929 Foundation is a non-profit organization started in memory of Jena Ashley Leblang (Hellman) by her friends and family. Unfortunately, Jena’s life was cut short and she was unable to do and experience everything she had wanted to. The foundation aims to keep Jena’s spirit alive by helping others the way Jena would have. The mission of the foundation is to spread positivity through their actions and activities as well as by supporting new and ongoing community service projects, which are especially focused on youth, literacy and medical research. More information can be found on the organization’s website at https://sites.google.com/a/smiles929foundation.org/smiles929/home

Since its founding, the Jena Ashley Smiles 929 Foundation has raised nearly $150,000 and has created scholarship funds in Jena’s name at both Tulane’s Center for Public Service and Sarasota, FL’s Teen Court. The foundation has also outfitted libraries throughout New Orleans, including at Raintree House, Young Audiences Public Charter School and Laureate Charter School. The foundation’s approach is to purchase a book for each student in every grade with a second copy of the book going to the school library. This way, each student gets a brand new book to keep and can read along with their friends with the library’s extra copy.

The foundation has sent the most books to the group Young Audiences Public Charter School but supports several other organizations. Jay’s personal favorite is Raintree House, which is a temporary home for teenage girls who need to be away from their home for a variety of reasons. The library at Raintree House was previously an old, dark room with threadbare books. The foundation provided new furniture, lighting, and hundreds of new books to outfit the room and give it a fresh look. On a recent visit to Raintree House, the foundation refreshed even more books and gave each girl one to keep.

Leblang received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tulane University in 2004. He earned his MBA from George Washington University in 2013. During his undergraduate time in the Beta Tau chapter, he served in several leadership roles, most notably as pledge chair and educator.

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