Meet Our Team: Q&A with Nancy Smith-Leslie, Director

Nancy Smith-Leslie is a seasoned health care executive with 20 years of experience in health care policy, programs, and operations. As a former Medicaid director, Nancy leverages her operational and management experience to provide strategic and technical advisory, relationship support and management strategies to state Medicaid agencies, managed care organizations (MCOs), health care providers, and more. Nancy is a thought leader on managed care program innovation and payment reform with a proven track record for helping public and private entities expand their programs, services, and products and improve health outcomes.

What brought you to Sellers Dorsey?
I came to Sellers Dorsey in 2019 after 14 years at New Mexico’s Medicaid agency. I was looking to continue working in the field because of my passion for benefiting communities with the greatest health needs. When I met the Sellers Dorsey team, their total alignment with my interests sealed the deal.

What’s your special area of expertise?
In my four years as New Mexico’s Medicaid director, I worked to translate policies and delivery system reforms into effective programs. For example, I implemented several Medicaid coverage expansion programs for children, pregnant women, and previously ineligible adults. Much of my career has focused on managed care in the areas of MCO contracting, procurement, and oversight as well as program design and implementation. Otherwise, I also have experience with large-scale transformation projects such as physical and behavioral health integration, expansion of long-term services and supports, and value-based purchasing initiatives. My expertise in these areas informs my approach to helping clients achieve their strategic goals.

Who are your typical clients?
I usually work with state agencies, managed care plans, providers, and vendors. My work covers a variety of initiatives in multiple regions across the nation.

What have you worked on recently?
Recently, I’ve been working with several longstanding clients on managed care procurement strategy and improving health plan oversight, planning for the eventual unwinding of the public health emergency, and helping clients implement market strategies.

What do you like about working at Sellers Dorsey?
I love the variety of work I do. It’s an opportunity to help clients grow their business, improve health care outcomes for their members, and optimize operational efficiencies. I find the challenge of developing and implementing an action plan both energizing and rewarding. As for the firm’s culture, my colleagues are all very supportive. Everyone is willing to pitch in and help. The common passion we share motivates everyone to work hard and produce high-quality results.

How has your work changed over time?
There are a lot of parallels between my current role and previous work as a Medicaid director. However, Medicaid is always changing, and I find the ever-evolving landscape continually exciting. Through my work at Sellers Dorsey, I have an incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and make a difference.

What is one important thing you have learned during your time at Sellers Dorsey?
In my experience, the success of our work reflects the team’s engagement. Every member of the team has an important contribution to make, and our team leaders create an environment that values everyone’s input. I have deep respect and admiration for my colleagues.

Do you have a favorite book, movie, quote, or personal hobby you can share?
My greatest personal interests are music, theater, and dance. I was fortunate to channel my love of the performing arts into cofounding a nonprofit children’s theater company. Having that opportunity to contribute to my community has been very rewarding. Right now, the company is working on a production of Peter Pan.

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