This is me.

This is me. I’ve decided to close out 2021 holistically. It was time to update the business photos to represent me as I am. No more hiding my tattoos and forcing corporate smiles to appear more approachable. This is me – a low key, curious, observant, assertive, introvert who overcame childhood trauma and leveraged my fire through post-traumatic growth to be better, do better, and create better. A passionate learner who geeks out about all things psychology related, deep, meaningful growth-focused dialogue, and making evidence-based coaching services more accessible to marginalized populations. I’m Dr. Leah B. Mazzola:
☆ a Hispanic/Indigenous American who grew up one of seven kids in poverty,
☆ experienced all 10 assessed Adverse Childhood Experiences,
☆ spent my teens involved in delinquency and heavy substance abuse,
☆ worked at least 2 jobs at all times since 14,
☆ dropped out of high school my junior year,
☆ decided to create a new path for myself at 17,
☆ secured my first corporate job at 18,
☆ used an iron will, willingness to learn from those who had what I wanted to gain the professional skills necessary to thrive at work,
☆ bought my first house at 21,
☆ earned my GED at 24,
☆ paused to consider how beautiful life was on the other side of positive transformation, so became a first-generation college student at 25 to study why I was able to make it out and transform my life when so many others hadn’t,
☆ worked 70+ hours weekly for the next nine years as I juggled full-time corporate work, full-time school, full-time family life, and began life coaching focused side hustles that have become my full-time life’s work,
☆ met the love of my life at 27 in between and co-raised four securely attached, thriving, children effectively breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, and criminality for my kids.
☆ Earned my PhD in Psychology at 34 and walked the stage with a lump in my throat as I considered representing every young brown girl managing risk and trauma outside of their control, still feeling like every day won’t end and struggling to imagine better for themselves. This could be them too. We have no idea what we’re capable of until we decide to focus our energy on building the good within and for ourselves to make positive, meaningful contributions to our world.
☆ Hit burnout hard at 35 and put hard boundaries around my work life to attend to recovery. Spent the last five years holding those boundaries working on healing. Working through the trauma that led me to hyper independence, hypervigilance, workaholism, and over-achieving as the expression of being stuck in the cycle of fighting with every cell to create and sustain security and safety for myself and my family – when truly, I’ve/we’ve been safe and secure all of my adult life.
☆ This is me. Learning to love my newfound freedom. The slower pace. The life we’re building and nurturing outside of work. The positive emotions, connections, and experiences that now have room for being. The settled, relaxed nature that was so unfamiliar it was uncomfortable and provoked anxiety for quite some time. I had to come to realize this is what relaxing feels like and resist the urge to add more as my system adapted to doing less. This is what right feels like. Space for the full spectrum of human experience. Space for boredom, curiosity, fun, leisure, joy, exploration AND focus, engagement, productivity, determination, effectiveness, and efficiency. We have arousal and relaxation responses for a reason. They both need space for being.
☆ This life is rich with resilience, wisdom, love, compassion, and purpose. So grateful to know this flourishing. So grateful to get to support my clients, trainees, and mentees as they attend to their own self-awareness, changes, and growth necessary to overcome, thrive, and live well. Life is good.

Philosophy and Approach

My Philosophy

I merge principles from psychology and evidence-based coaching to train and support clients as they optimize their personal, academic, and professional lives. My work is grounded in contextual behavioral science and choice theory. My coaching approach is pragmatic.

To summarize those ideas, our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are instruments that serve a purpose and contribute to our outcomes. We can create positive outcomes from the inside out through self-insight, practical strategies, and consistent, meaningful, targeted action. I coach to promote clients’ rationality, agency, and attention to knowledge and skills development relevant to their goals.

Why a training approach?

Unfortunately, behavioral science is not required curriculum within public or higher education, so in demand soft skills are lagging in the workforce and society. Soft skills include social and emotional intelligence, self-management, adaptability, collaboration, etc. Training programs in the workplace are most often focused on hard skills development, which leaves novice employees to find ways to develop the soft skills they’re often lacking through trial and error. That trial and error often includes documented disciplinary actions that become an impediment to promotability or income. We can address this skills gap on the front end by

1) educating adolescents and emerging adults in foundational behavioral science principles,
2) training them to apply that knowledge to build soft skills to enhance their performance, interactions, and outcomes, and
3) coaching them toward achieving higher level goals that matter to them while integrating these principles and skills.

My Audience

I serve clients in organizations, academic settings, and private practice as a learning and development consultant, coach, and trainer.

Most of my clients seek support in the following areas:

  • Life, college, or career direction that fits
  • Improving motivation, performance, and engagement in school or work
  • Stress management related to school or work
  • Prioritizing self-care and work/life balance
  • Positive behavior change
  • Enhancing approaches to parenting and family dynamics
  • Developing
    • confidence and effectiveness
    • evidence-based decision making skills
    • conflict management and negotiation skills
    • social and communication skills
    • emotional intelligence, competency, and critical thinking skills
    • leadership skills