The Backstory #WhereItAllBegan
I'm originally from Guyana, South America. My family immigrated to the United States and settled in Pittsburgh in 1984. As most immigrant families will tell you, the transition wasn't always easy but growing up here in Pittsburgh, I always felt happy. I loved American culture but was also proud of my Caribbean heritage. And love that we were able to share our culture and heritage with many people throughout the years.
Professional Life #TakingCareOfBusiness
I started my first business, MyStyle, at the age of 19, offering image consulting and personal shopping services. I loved fashion but I really loved helping women feel good about themselves. In 2002, I began my professional career working for a luxury retailer, managing markets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In 2011, while pregnant with my third child I began doing freelance business development consulting and soon after, officially launched my second company, Straightforward Consulting with my husband David. Our company works with startups, small businesses, artists and nonprofit organizations. We both come from small business families and understand the challenges entrepreneurs face. Our mission is to help our clients develop successful businesses that have a positive impact on our community. I began blogging for business in 2012 and launched my own blog, ProperLeigh, two years ago.
Then What? #WorkThatMatters
After spending most of my life performing, lecturing and conducting workshops about the steelpan, I founded the organization Barrels to Beethoven, a social enterprise centered around steelpan education and innovation. My father, steelpan pioneer, Phil Solomon has been building and playing the steelpan for over 50 years. I began performing and teaching with him around the age of 9. Barrels to Beethoven was founded to preserve the legacy of my fathers contribution to the instrument, share the history of the steelpan and develop a new generation of players, teachers, builders and tuners. Performing and teaching about the steelpan from such a young age has had a tremendous positive impact on my life and the lives of so many other children. It's my mission to ensure the instrument sustains over time.
My World #ItsAllAboutFamily
I'm a wife and mother of three girls. My daughters Sofia, Stella and Cecelia are amazing children and provide the strength I need to achieve my goals. My husband David, a contractor by day and amazing DJ (#Bonus) understands and supports my need to do work that positively impacts others and supports our communities. He's the best! Our family time consists of everything from movie night to concerts and exhibits. We love it all!
Why I Love Pittsburgh #SteelCity
I've always been a fan of Pittsburgh. Not only because it's "a great place to raise a family" but because you can also connect with people. Nothing and no one is unattainable. At least I don't believe so. I've met so many great people through my business, performing and supporting artists, businesses organizations throughout the city. My girls think I know everyone. I don't. As an immigrant, I love that this city allows you to achieve your goals, especially if you're an entrepreneur and as long as you're willing to put in the work. I also love that so many Pittsburghers, myself included, feel as though we can make a difference here. Like change is attainable. That's why we work so hard at it. Many of us have the mindset that we have the power and responsibility to make our city better, and we continually aim to do so.