Release Date: Nov 21, 2022

Mason Health’s new Chief Financial Officer Steve Leslie comes to Shelton with an extensive background working in health care finances in Alaska and California. Leslie started at Mason Health on Oct. 31, and will work alongside retiring Chief Financial Officer Rick Smith, who will step down officially in December. Leslie was attracted to Mason Health because he could sense the positive workplace culture that CEO Eric Moll instills in the team, and he is excited to work alongside providers in both the clinic and hospital settings.

“In health care, there are many options out there when it comes to looking for work,” Leslie said. “There are lots of things attractive to me about Mason Health, including the fact that Eric has built an exceptional leadership team. The people here want to stay long-term, and you know that if they want to stay, there’s got to be something good going on.”

Leslie is originally from Westchester, Pennsylvania, where he spent his childhood hiking and camping. When he graduated high school, his mother and stepfather moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. Leslie decided he would go to university on his own time and ultimately did not pursue his bachelor’s degree until five years later. Instead, he spent that time working in restaurants, first as a busboy, then a prep cook and a line cook.

“I liked the teamwork in the restaurant industry,” he said. “And that if you work in restaurants, you can work anywhere in the world.”

The stress of the restaurant industry, and the fact that you must work nights and weekends, eventually shifted Leslie’s thinking. He felt ready to go back to school, and initially pursued a teaching degree. When his son was born in 1990, however, he decided he wanted to have a job that could work in any industry, so he switched gears and pursued accounting. He graduated with a 4.0 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1994, with a degree in Business Administration in Accounting.

Leslie worked as a public accountant for five years, performing audits and tax services for nonprofits and tribal governments. This introduced him to the tribal health care system, and he discovered he had an affinity for working in health care and for underserved people. He became the finance officer for Interior Community Health Center, where he found his calling working in health care finances.

“Health care, like accounting, felt like a safe bet for job security,” he said. “I really fell in love with the community health system and discovered that I love working with doctors, nurses and care providers.”

After seven years, Leslie pivoted and worked for two years as a controller of an auto dealership, then he became the Chief Financial Officer for the Tanana Valley Clinic. At the time, in March 2009, the clinic was operated by Banner Health. In February 2016, Leslie became the CFO over three entities — Tanana Valley Clinic, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, and the Denali Center, a short- and long-term care facility. He maintained that role when Foundation Health Partners, an independent regional health system, took the organization over in January 2017. In March 2019, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Physician Services, where he became responsible for strategic and operational planning, physician compensation, recruiting, contracting and financial performance.

In January 2021, Leslie and his wife, Maria Helms, decided they wanted to move from Alaska.

“There’s only so much snow you can shovel,” he said. “It’s a long time to live in the Arctic and we didn’t want to retire there.”

They “overcompensated” geographically and moved to southern California, where Leslie worked as a CFO for a large community health care system, he said. While he loves the mission of community health care, the weather in Bakersfield was too hot and the organization was undergoing a lot of transition. After 18 months, Leslie was the longest-serving member of the administrative team.

The job at Mason Health feels like a perfect fit, Leslie said. Seattle is a direct flight to Fairbanks, where two of his children still live, and where Leslie and Helms have a cabin.

His eldest child, Aaron, is an engineering tech for the Alaska Department of Transportation. His other son, Benjamin, is studying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and wants to pursue law school. His eldest daughter, Emilia, graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, and works for Epic Systems. His youngest, Zarah, is taking college courses and plans to continue her studies in the Northwest.

Leslie and Helms have already purchased a home in Shelton, where they live with their three dogs, a pug named Frank, Echo, a husky rottweiler mix, and Jed, a retriever Akita mix.

“For us, this is perfect,” he said. “I’m excited about the variety of the operations at Mason Health, with an emergency department, inpatient, surgery, diagnostic imaging, clinic and more. I came up through the clinic side of health care and I am just happy to work with doctors and nurses. We are really excited to be here.”

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is ISO 9001 Quality Management System certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. Mason General Hospital and Mason Clinic are ENERGY STAR® certified and Mason Health is the recipient of Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Environmental Excellence Awards. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit To learn more about DNV, visit

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