Laura Ornest is an award-winning television and radio reporter and producer who joined Didi Hirsch’s Board in 1999 as a way to “give back” to her community and to help erase the stigma of mental illness.
A native of Canada, Ornest worked as Assistant General Manager for the Vancouver Canadians, a AAA Baseball team owned by her father, Harry Ornest, who subsequently owned the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
When her father sold the Vancouver Canadians in 1981, Ornest launched her broadcasting career as a sportscaster for CKNW radio in Vancouver. A year later, CBC Television hired her to host the 11 PM nightly news sportscast and a weekend sports show, making her the first female TV sportscaster in Western Canada.
Ornest began working as a freelance TV news reporter for Channel 9 and ESPN in Los Angeles in 1985. She also produced shows for E! Television, CNN and CBS before she crossed into broadcast news radio. She worked as a local news reporter for KFWB and then KNX 1070, where she earned several Golden Mikes and Associated Press awards for her work.
Ornest currently interviews, writes and produces features on the arts for KUSC Classical Radio 91.5. She also serves on the Board of Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Federation.
She spent a year at La Sorbonne in Paris before earning a BA in French, with a minor in Spanish, from UCLA. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, Rick Leslie, an architect, and their teenage son.
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