Griffs Under 40: Mark S. Leonard '09
Buffalo, NY - For brothers Mark S. and Steven A. Leonard, their journeys to success began on the lacrosse field in their hometown of Syracuse and continued at Canisius.
Mark played defense and served as team captain senior year. Steven was a mid-fielder and though he didn’t get much playing time, he was a crucial part of the Griffs, according to Mark.
“Steven was the most spirited member, always into the game, encouraging teammates and assisting coaches,” Mark recalls.
After graduation, their degrees took the Leonard brothers in separate directions.
The English Lacrosse Association drafted Mark to play and coach professionally in Manchester, England. He later returned to Buffalo to work as a market development executive at Ingram Micro, followed by a move to Virginia where he currently works in sales at Dell. Leonard continues to coach high school varsity lacrosse in Fairfax, VA.
Meantime, the elder Leonard brother built a successful career in New York City. By day, he worked as a senior project manager at the global e-commerce company Redstage. At night, Steven launched two of his own Buffalo-inspired e-commerce businesses: 716 Renaissance Designs sells Buffalo-themed t-shirts; “Blurbs Against Buffalo” is a local version of the popular game “Cards Against Humanity.”
Both of Steven’s entrepreneurial ventures were just beginning to thrive when doctors diagnosed him with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Though he fought hard, “with the same spirit he showed on the lacrosse field,” Mark says, Steven passed away in November 2016 at age 31.
His success lives on, however, through Mark.
The younger Leonard now oversees sales of Blurbs Against Buffalo, which recently sold more than 1,000 decks of playing cards in three months. Mark also established the Steven Leonard Jr. Foundation, to help fund research for muco epidermoid carcinoma. Long-term goals for the foundation include dedicating a treatment room at ECMC in Steven’s memory and establishing a non-athletic scholarship for a Canisius student who, like Steven, may not be the star of the team but is a distinctive shining light.