Hi there! I am Leslie Crudup Villagarcia. I am a formally trained, certified, full-time Life Coach committed to helping you forge a purpose-driven life according to YOUR values–not society’s expectations. Coaching is no side-gig for me. It is what I love and what I dedicate the entirety of my work days towards.
I value inclusivity. I respect your pronouns (mine are she/her/hers). I respect your lifestyle. I am a proud queer, polyamorous woman, an ally for marginalised groups, and an outspoken advocate for racial and social equity.
I am a triple citizen who has spent over a decade working as an educator, trainer, curriculum developer, e-learning designer, and workshop facilitator in Australia, Europe, Asia and the US. I now dedicate my time to using a no-nonsense approach to empower my clients to navigate major life changes and find direction and fulfilment. When you work with me, you will NOT be told to simply sit back and allow the universe to deliver your dream life to you. You will be expected to put in the work we agree on to make your goals your reality 😉. Don’t get me wrong! I believe that having an optimistic outlook can be very powerful, but what I don’t endorse is ‘toxic positivity’ or ‘spiritual bypassing‘. Yes, working to create the life you want is important, but it is counter-productive to fall into the ‘positive vibes only’ trap which often leads to empty, unsustainable illusions of fulfilment. What matters is the strength of the foundation upon which you build the life you want!
I have lived a life powered by curiosity, a love of learning, and a penchant for solo global travel, which has resulted in a very international CV and a multi-faceted perspective on fulfilment. This is the foundation on which I have built my private coaching practice. I hope that somewhere in my story, you will find a point of connection that resonates with you. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.
A family legacy of helping
Helping professions are the armature around which my life has been formed. My mother worked for 30 years as a counsellor in a children’s hospital. She now assists older adults with developmental disabilities in an in-patient facility. My sister has been a social worker for many years and is currently undertaking a Masters degree in psychotherapy. My father worked as a mentor throughout his engineering career and now runs a consultancy business. He has also been very active in community building and politics and has developed a number of programs to support at-risk youth. Having grown up in Oakland California, he was also a member of the original chapter of the Black Panther Party. My brother has also been bitten by the helping bug, having developed programs through which he led groups of young people from North America on educational expeditions through the Amazon rainforest.
In short, to draw upon this foundation of helping is not just a skill I have committed to developing over the years; it is a part of me. It is who I am and it is why I connect with my clients so effectively. It’s also worth noting that my partner (they/them) is a lover of philosophy who teaches the subject professionally. They are also currently a teacher of Applied Positive Psychology in a local high school. Discussing the deeper meanings of, well, everything, is a daily conversation in my home. We are so committed to examining reality from various perspectives that we, in fact, named our daughter after the philosophical concept of Qualia- the raw sensory perceptions that individuals hold which cannot be measured from one person to another. Think ‘is your Red like my Red‘.
A staunch advocate for critical thinking and social justice
Below: the speech I delivered for the 35,000+ attendees at the Black Lives Matter rally in Brisbane on 6 June 2020.
I am a proud human rights activist. When it comes to the commonly touted coaching adages of ‘stepping into your power’ and ‘finding your voice’, I do more than ‘push’ these messages onto clients; I walk the talk. I speak up when it really matters and have helped countless others do the same, whether it be in their work lives, personal lives, or otherwise! That said, your politics do not have to match mine in order for us to work together effectively because the coaching relationship is about helping YOU align with YOUR values.
Throughout my former career in university teaching, a primary focus of my teaching was helping students from around the globe develop strong skills in critical thinking, research literacy, and debating. True critical thinking (not simple contrarian thinking) is a skill that is becoming increasingly important, and I’m proud to have a solid, verifiable background in cutting through the noise that has pervaded the personal development industry in this regard.
A true woman of the world
I am a world traveller, a serial expat and a triple citizen: USA by birth, Peru by maternal descent and Australia by naturalisation. My early childhood was spent traveling back and forth with my family between Peru and whichever US state my American father was working in at any given time. After settling in Pennsylvania, my life in Peru became a 3-months-per-year ritual of running around with my wonderful cousins, becoming educated in Andean lore and traditions and living in a reality very far removed from the country in which I undertook my formal schooling. Bear in mind also, this was Peru in the 1980s and 1990s–a very different Peru from the one of today. Beautiful and wonderful all the same, but it was certainly more fraught in terms of the socio-political climate. Terrorist attacks were a regular occurrence and, due to my family’s political status, my sister and I were particularly at risk. Consequently, becoming resilient from a very young age was crucial. There was no other choice!
Having been raised a traveler, it was not long before my need to see more of the world took me on solo trips throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia for the purposes of travel, exploration, study, and work. Eventually, after two years working in Vietnam, I found my way to Australia where I had planned to live and work for a year before moving to another country. That was over 14 years ago! Here I still am, now married to a remarkable person I met during our time as Parkour instructors, and raising an even more remarkable child. She is an amazing little travel buddy and we can’t wait to show her even more of this big, beautiful world.
A career of educating, facilitating, and leading
Before I started my private coaching practice in February of 2019, my major focus was in training and developing innovative methods for using technology in language teaching. I spent several years teaching in the U.S, Europe and Asia before moving into the Australian university sector, during which I also delivered a number of professional development sessions domestically and abroad. I also served as the teaching staff representative on the Academic Board in my most recent university position.
Among other factors, it was a growing desire to work one-on-one with my students that led me to pursue coaching as my primary career. I realised, after several years of coaching my students toward academic success, that what I was truly passionate about was helping them achieve deeper engagement with their internal motivations and assessment of their own study/life skills.
I owe so much of my unique coaching abilities to the lessons I learned through working and studying around the world in various cultural contexts. I am very well-versed in rapidly adjusting to the differing communication styles and support needs of my clients, having done so on a daily basis with classes of students comprising up to 15 different nationalities at a time. I actively draw upon these skills in every coaching session and workshop I conduct.
My numerous educational qualifications include a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics (University of Newcastle), which focuses heavily on how language is used to communicate across cultures, verbally and non-verbally. The expressions people use to describe themselves and the world around them reveals so much about their self-belief and their values and provide valuable material with which to explore their stories. Having a solid foundation in how people communicate allows me to help my clients connect the dots between their words and behaviours in a manner that leads to deeper insights, clarity of communication, and more efficient goal achievement.
My Life Coaching training, delivered through The Life Coaching Institute of Australia, a sister school of the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, comprised modules focused on a variety of therapeutic practices, psychological principles and coaching techniques. My ongoing training involves regular communication and practise sessions with coaches, counsellors and students from the LCIA and AIPC programs as well as through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) of which I am a member.
A former serial client
There are situations in life when it is just not appropriate to rely solely upon the expertise of ones family and friends in order to crawl out of a hole. Sometimes, outside sources of support are essential. This has certainly been my experience as well. Social workers, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, counsellors…these are just some of the support sources I have drawn upon in the past to tackle issues related to depression and anxiety, partially caused by a very high risk pregnancy. I had suffered four heartbreaking miscarriages before becoming pregnant with my daughter. Those 39.7 weeks carrying her were fraught with crippling anxiety of another loss, a fear remedied in part by a dedicated mindfulness meditation practice [note: mindfulness practice is about a LOT more than just meditation]. This fear had been exacerbated by the numerous warnings (during the countless hospital visits) that I was on the verge of miscarrying my 5th pregnancy due to heavy blood loss.
My relationship with the universe and everyone in it had been under threat for so long during my pregnancy journey that it was a struggle to find my place in the world again after giving birth to my daughter. It was around this time that I had to seriously revise my list of mental health professionals with whom I was comfortable speaking, as the effectiveness of each relationship varied widely. Through this revision process, I developed a much deeper understanding of the purpose, limitations, strengths and weaknesses of each relationship in terms of my needs at the time. This process also led to an epiphany–that the support I was receiving could help me feel more stable, but could only get me so far towards achieving vitality and thriving in life. I realised that what I needed was not only an action plan for fulfilment; I needed to be on the other side of the conversation. This, along with a deeper understanding of my changing career needs was the catalyst for my launch into coaching as an explicit career focus.
It is within the coaching space that I am most authentically in my element. Witnessing my clients’ breakthrough moments and helping them reach their goals is a truly rewarding experience. I come out of each session feeling uplifted, inspired and grateful for the encounter.
Now, how can we work together to help you design your customised personal transformation curriculum? Book a free online consultation with me to find out! We can meet face-to-face at my private office at 91 Commercial Rd. Teneriffe, QLD, Australia, online via Zoom, or by phone.