Leslie Rankow graduated from The Brearley School and Sarah Lawrence College and continued graduate art history studies first at Yale School of Art and Architecture and then at New York University.  Her initial commercial venture was as founder and principal of a contemporary gallery on the Upper East Side in New York City. After five successful years, Leslie relocated to Europe and as the first International Director of ARTnews, developed and expanded a network of advertising and editorial representation for the magazine in many European cities and produced several solo magazine issues focused on the art in individual European countries. 

Upon returning to New York, Leslie founded Leslie Rankow Fine Arts, Ltd., an art advisory service dedicated to the development and management of art collections for both the nascent and seasoned collector.