Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science, 1968-70
Bart Leonard has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism since 1976, when he began his studies with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a renowned teacher of the Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. Trungpa Rinpoche is known in the West for being one of several major teachers who brought Buddhism to Western societies. The Shambhala Buddhist teachings were developed by Trungpa Rinpoche, and Centers have been established in major cities in the United States and throughout the world. Bart was the Director of the Shambhala Center in New York City from 1982 - 1985. After moving to Washington, D.C. in 1997, Mr. Leonard became active in the local center, serving on the Board of the DC Shambhala Center from 2005 — 2010. He Chaired the Board from 2008 — 2009. He helped lead the project to establish the Center in a new location in Cleveland Park, Washington DC. Mr. Leonard devotes himself full time to his Buddhist studies, and travels frequently to meditation retreat centers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Barnet, Vermont and Red Feather Lake, Colorado.
Bart Leonard’s professional career began with his work in a family-owned fabric and decorating business in Union, New Jersey. He acquired an interest in Cushion Craft, lnc., a manufacturer of custom cushions and pillows, based in Harrison, New Jersey, in 1986. After assuming full ownership of the company in 1989, when he took on the roles of President & CEO, he led the company to substantial growth and expansion.
Under Bart’s leadership, Cushion Craft developed a licensed home furnishings business that expanded to include products designed with the logos of the teams in the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) as well as over 100 colleges and universities. Products were marketed through relationships developed with major national retailers. From the early 1990’s, Cushion Craft was hailed for its innovative designs and product innovation in the home furnishings arena. Cushion Craft was the second largest home furnishings licensee for the National Football League throughout the 1990's, and in 1994 the company was presented with the Golden Helmet award from NFL Properties, Inc., dubbing the firm “Pillow Pioneers”. Cushion Craft products have been used in television and film, including banner backdrops for the NFL Draft, and as props in the film “Fever Pitch” starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.
In 1998, Mr. Leonard sold Cushion Craft, Inc. to Biederlack of America, a Cumberland, MD based blanket manufacturing company. After consulting on product design and strategic marketing for the next two years, Mr. Leonard retired from his business career.