This edition of my Girl Power Series features my sweet friend, Leanne! I don’t even know how to begin to describe her… to me, she is sunny. She has a smile that is contagious, her eyes light up and you automatically want to smile too. Leanne is such a and kind person. Her kindness is really inspiring- even though she says this interview won’t be interesting… (girl, please). I love having the opportunity to conduct these interviews, p.s. my friends are the best guinea pigs, because I get to sit down and have a one on one conversation with my friends that we probably wouldn’t have in a group setting- to be honest, the conversation would go so far off the rails LOL. It makes me so happy to share the thirteen questions worth of new things I learned about Leanne, I know you’ll love her too!
Mezcal doesn’t make you drunk, it gives you magic
BG: Okay Leanne, please state your name, where you’re from, what you do and a fun fact.
LL: Born and raised in ATX, which is rare but half of my heart is in New York (one of the few and far between you’ll meet here.)
BG: When did your family move here? Like, your mom and dad moved here together?
LL: Yes, they got married in New York. They’ve known each other since Kindergarten, never been with anyone else but each other- which doesn’t happen anymore… my family is originally from New York. My dad got a job and they moved to Iowa, right afterwards they moved to Austin and decided to start a family: four of us, I have three brothers.
BG: What do you do?
LL: I am a finance specialist for a tech company.
BG: Did you think of a fun fact yet?!
LL: I have the rarest blood type in the world, AB-, less than one percent of the world’s population has this. Also, I played my clarinet on stage in Carnegie Hall, I was third chair clarinet as a Freshman in top band.
BG: That’s so cool!
LL: I think my brother had something to do with it, he was a prodigy trumpet player.
BG: You gave me two fun facts! <I would also argue another fun fact is that her name comes from a combination of her parent’s middle names- Lee and Anne.>
BG: What is something you’re passionate about?
LL: Lots of things. All things music- performing, listening. I’m passionate about being independent as a person.
BG: Oh, I love that answer.
LL: I have very loving parents, but as the only girl they didn’t really have any expectations for me- they just thought I would get married off. It was nice to learn my own independence, financially, emotionally, everything.
BG: Do you have an example?
LL: My mom never had a real job, she always stayed at home. She still doesn’t know what I do for work, I tell her every week. When I told her I’m thinking about buying a home on my own, I thought she would be more excited about it and she was just like, “You should wait until you meet the right guy, he’ll buy a house and you can move in with him.”
BG: WHAT?!?!?! That’s awful advice.
LL: My younger brother just calms me down and reminds me she just word vomits sometimes. I love my mother don’t get me wrong, but she never had to work so she doesn’t understand. She grew up on a farm, but didn’t have to do chores. Then she met my dad and had babies.
BG: Oh, she needs to never meet my younger sister… LOL
LL: She’s very caring and selfless, but its different. If I could have met my soul mate in Kindergarten and not had to worry about anything, I would have done that, but that’s not how that worked out for me.
BG: Yeah, things are SO different now than they were for our parents, hello internet dating.
BG: What is your favorite quote?
LL: “In order to be irreplaceable, you have to be different.” – Coco Chanel.
BG: I love the way that quote applies to so many things, not just relationships or in your personal life, but also professionally. Like, I read this meme and it said, “Fuck a two week notice, these motherfuckers are gonna know when I leave.” And it just cracked me up and inspired me a little bit, maybe in a petty way, but whatever.
LL: I’ve liked it since high school, I probably had it on my myspace page.
BG: HA! Omg, myspace.
BG: Have you experienced a difficult season and how has that shaped who you are today?
LL: So many seasons. This most recent one is a break up, its been the most interesting time, thinking I had everything figured out and thinking I would be engaged by now. But I don’t want that to be my answer. I definitely think the season of the Duke sweatshirt.
<So, Leanne told me the story of her Duke sweatshirt a while ago. To summarize- she was going through a difficult time with her grandmother’s death and she found comfort in a sweatshirt she purchased at the airport in New York.>
LL: That was a time in my life that I truly feel like it shaped me. I was right out of college, had my first job, was trying to figure out what I was doing in the world. My brother was living with my parents telling me he thought they were going to get divorced. My grandmother died. My boyfriend’s dad died the next day and I couldn’t be there for him because I was in New York to help my mom with the funeral arrangements- my mom was inconsolable. That was one of the times I realized I’m stronger than I thought.
BG: I love that last thing you said, being stronger than you thought you were. And I can definitely see it in you today, that this shaped who you are.
BG: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?
LL: Probably my dad saying… “Keep calm and drink wine.”
BG: HA! You just read that off the wall behind me…
LL: Haha, this is so hard! But my dad always has the best advice. The things that he says resonates with me and has meaning. I think the best piece of advice he’s given me is don’t worry so much about being perfect, care less about what people think of you- have high expectations for yourself.
BG: I absolutely love that, have high expectations for yourself. I could definitely use that piece of advice. I honestly think that nobody has ever given me advice like that, or maybe I just haven’t been listening. It’s usually me telling myself these things- positive self talk!
LL: Lately, these past two years my younger brother has been really inspiring in his advice to me.
BG: Aww thats so cute, he’s looking out for you. Anything in particular?
LL: Like, with this breakup, he took a moment for me. He said a lot of good things to me. He always quotes songs- he was like “its always darkest before the dawn.”
BG: Hahahah so cheesy but thats awesome.
LL: He made me feel like its okay to feel this way and he has comforted me months on end. I just need someone to tell me to man up and deal,
BG: That’s great that you have him to lean on when you need it. It’s okay to need it.
BG: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever given?
LL: I’m trying to think of some of the things I’ve told friends over time- appreciate every chapter of your life because where you’re at right now, you won’t be there again. You look back and remember things different or better than they actually were. Like, sometimes I think it would be great to go back to college and then I realize it wasn’t that great. I was stressed all of the time, I didn’t have money, I didn’t have a car.
BG: My advice was similar to that, I was constantly living on this schedule of- I cant wait to graduate, I can’t wait for the weekend, I can’t wait to do this- like, I was constantly looking forward for time to pass by until the next exciting thing happened.
LL: That’s why our weekly girl’s nights are SO important.
BG: It gives me something to look forward to mid- work week and helps the day go by a little faster knowing I’m going to see you girls!
BG: What would you go back and tell your younger self?
LL: Don’t take yourself so seriously, learn how to have fun. Even as a child I was so much of an introvert and a people pleaser that my focus became on my studies because I was good at it. Even when it didn’t matter. I was a straight ‘A’ student, perfect attendance, the only class I ever got a ‘B’ in was P.E. I took myself so seriously for so long.
BG: We are SO alike in that aspect!!
BG: What is something you’re happy you did for yourself?
LL: I’m happy I changed my major at the last minute when everyone else thought I was a crazy person.
<Leanne was a pre-med/ biology major for three years at UT and changed it to Journalism.>
LL: I was stressed out and I thought that in high school everything was a joke compared to UT Natural Science School, absolutely a shock to me how many smart people were in my class that made me feel like I haven’t even encountered an intelligent person before. I’m really happy I changed that because I think it would have been purposeful but I don’t know that it would have made me any happier.
BG: Did it take you any longer to finish your degree after changing majors three years in?
LL: It took an extra semester. I had been so serious my whole life and I was like, can I actually have fun now? Thursday night is college night, I waited until I was a junior in college to finally have fun and be rebellious and do my own thing.
BG: One extra semester really isn’t that bad of a trade- off for changing your major last minute to something that you will potentially do for the rest of your life.
BG: What is your ultimate dream, if given no limitations?
LL: One thing I’ve always wanted to do- music and lyrics inspire me. I made choir, I went with band but I love to sing. I sing in the car, I sing in the shower. I’d love to play the acoustic guitar and sing at local coffee shops, small places. I’m trying to learn, my dad is a really good guitar player.
BG: Leanne, that’s awesome!
LL: I don’t want to perform for a ton of people, I want to do it for me and I want to be able to play the guitar and sing a song that means something to have people be some what moved by it in some way.
BG: OMG. I’d sit front row every single day!
BG: How do you want to make a difference in the world/ what is the legacy you want to leave?
LL: I just want to be kind to everybody. I want a family, I want that to be my legacy. It was always hard for me to imagine ending up with one guy to start a family with- the idea that theres one guy I’m going to spend the rest of my life with seems so daunting. But the idea of a child seemed a lot easier- someone that I can raise like my parents raised me or even better. Just to be able to bring life into this world and take every lesson I’ve learned and everything I know and try to create a person that can survive in this crazy world we live in.
BG: Would you ever do that on your own?
LL: No, but with the right person.
BG: What are some future goals you have set for yourself?
LL: Travel outside of the U.S. I’ve seen so much of the U.S. but I’ve never been to Europe.
<I would argue this is a fun fact, but Leanne’s brother bought her a square foot of a castle in Scotland as a gift. So she is part owner, but has never been!>
LL: It’s funny because when you’re an owner of a Scottish castle, you’re a Laird (or Lord) which is also my last name so that’s cool.
BG: That’s so cool! Don’t go without me!
BG: What advice would you give to a younger female (of any age)?
LL: Try to live in the present, focus on your future goals but also enjoy the moment you’re in.
BG: That was my answer to this question too. Tori said something similar as well, and to stop chasing the boys!
LL: Focus on the friendships you’re cultivating over time that are actually true friends.
BG: Who is a woman that is inspiring you today?
LL: Kendra Scott. I’m impressed with her philanthropy, she does a lot with children and her Kendra Cares donates proceeds to different non- profits. I know that when she started out her jewelry business, she had just gotten married, didn’t have children and just started this on her own. Also, her first business was inspired by a family member who had cancer- she came up with this idea for patients going through radiation to wear cute hats and I always thought that was super cool.
BG: I love that, I didn’t know that. Now she’s a woman who inspires me!
LL: She’s an impressive woman for what she’s done and who she’s become.
I think Leanne is an impressive woman for what she’s done and who she’s become! I’m so glad y’all got the chance to meet her, she is so great! Leanne really inspires me, getting to know her throughout the break up she has been overcoming and learning about the hardship she experienced during her grandmother’s death. She is so easy to talk to, about both the serious things and the silly things. I was so thrilled to learn all of these other things about her! Can we all just take a minute to tell her she needs to play her acoustic guitar in a coffee shop ASAP… Leanne, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me help the Girl Power Series come to life! I appreciate all of your support! Y’all, as always, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions for my next installment please let me know!