Strategic Communications and Journalism

Executive Director of Communications, Office of Communication Services
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina – present

I develop and execute strategic communications plans for central administration as Executive Director of Communications for the Office of Communication Services. I oversee employee social media accounts, serve on Duke's emergency management team, and I am the editor of the print publication, Working@Duke, and online news site, Duke Today Working@Duke, both of which received national recognition:

  • Gold award, Circle of Excellence, Print Internal Newsletter from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Working@Duke, 2017, 2014; Silver award, 2015 and 2013; Bronze award, 2016, 2009 and 2007
  • Gold award, Circle of Excellence, Periodical Staff Writing for Internal Audiences from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Working@Duke: 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2007
  • Bronze award, Circle of Excellence, Web-Based Internal Audience Periodicals from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Duke Today: 2012
  • Best Employee Newsletter (Print Publication), Ragan Recognition Awards (Lawrence Ragan Communications), Working@Duke: 2014, 2011, 2008
  • Best Employee Newsletter (Electronic Publication), Ragan Recognition Awards (Lawrence Ragan Communications), Working@Duke section on Duke Today: 2011

In addition to my full-time work, I am a master's degree student in Liberal Studies at Duke University. In 2012, I created my first short documentary, The Mothers. I have presented at several professional conferences about internal communications and corporate storytelling.

Staff Writer
Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times)
, St. Petersburg, Florida – April 1994 to October 2004

I wrote more than 2,000 stories as a reporter for the Pulitzer Prize winning Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) in St. Petersburg, Florida. I covered city and county government and a metropolitan police agency, writing about everything from high-profile crimes to hurricanes. I was part of a team that won the Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting. 

"Good journalism shines a light in a dark corner, holding public officials accountable. As a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, Leanora Minai at turns covered city and county governments and a major metro police department," said Kevin McGeever, a former editor and now senior editor for VISITFLORIDA.com. "She broke news at every stop. Her reporting made citizens smarter."

Staff Writer 
The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – October 1990 to April 1994

I got my start in journalism as a general assignment reporter at The Times Leader in Pennsylvania.