Today we’d like to introduce you to Leenda Nicole Dejel.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Leenda Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up with a single dad most of my life, my parents did not have enough money to support costly extracurricular activities. As a result, I learned to take initiative in discovering and funding my interests as a kid by mowing lawns and finding jobs that needed to be done. A real tom-boy. I spent some time in foster care and homeless shelters in-between poverty and custody battles. At the beginning of high school, I moved from Utah to Colorado. It was a whole new world. In 2010, I was titled Miss Lafayette Colorado and went on to compete in Miss Colorado America for a scholarship. In the process of picking a ‘Talent’, I struggled to find my ‘inner gift’ but soon realized that talent comes in many forms. I did not win a scholarship, but I was able to work while going to school and somehow pay tuition and rent my own apartment without financial assistance. With this insight, I designed CatheXis to cater to all, by providing an array of opportunities and resources for anyone who is willing to work towards their goals with a growth mindset. A community where people can share their talent(s) and learn/teach new skill sets while paying it forward.
The name CatheXis came to me while reading a book called The Road Less Traveled. The book talks about love, and how to love ‘unconditionally’ means caring about what is best for someone else even if that has nothing to do with you. To Cathect is to love; it can drive one crazy, or push us to be great. According to the dictionary, it literally means: “to invest energy into a particular person, idea, or object (even to an unhealthy degree).” This was salient to me because it sheds light on the essential balance that is needed when we invest ourselves in things like our careers and love-life. CatheXis gives us the power to harness our pain and passions as fuel to accomplish our life’s biggest goals.
The big red X in CatheXis. Malcolm X went to prison and utilized the only resources he had to teach himself how to read and write. He was a great leader that had the discipline and courage to educate himself, question things, inspire many, and fight for what he believed in. One evening as a kid at the dinner table, I told a family member that I thought Malcolm X was the greatest man I had ever heard of, and that I wanted to name my future son after him. I was told that I could not name my kid a “beaner name”. I didn’t even know what that meant, it can mean different things to different people. Now take it with a grain of salt, none of us are raised the same, we come from different families, experiences, and cultures of which we have no control. Sadly, that was my first experience with what I learned to be racism, ignorance at its finest. That was when I realized our moral responsibility to make this world better for future generations.
The red X stands for an unspoken collective knowledge that slavery still exists and we won’t stand for it; from human trafficking, child marriage and corporate/political corruption, to things like migrants being sold as slaves and underpaid workers. Our Talents’ wear their shirts with the red X right over their heart, in remembrance that we are our brother’s keeper.
Last but not least, Malcolm dropped his surname “Little”, which he considered a slave name, in favor of the letter X. This is significant to the fact that I wanted to create a safe place where our Talent can leave everything that does not serve them in their life, in order to become the best version of themselves. So many of us waste our lives blaming our parents and/or our past, instead of mustering the courage to take action and prepare before opportunity knocks. A reminder to grab life by the horns, take control of our destiny and rise to the divinity within each and every one of us.
Has it been a smooth road?
2014/15 were the best years of my life. I graduated college, started teaching yoga for the Denver Nuggets, moved out of an unhealthy living situation and was just starting to get my business off the ground. I was ready to conquer the world! But it was not smooth sailing. In 2016 I was robbed for more than I was worth, diagnosed with one of the most aggressive kinds of cervical cancer, and had to move back in with my parents; being kicked out shortly after because I was not making enough to pay rent. The most depressing part was when medicare would not take me without a physical address to get the surgeries I needed. I remember getting a gym membership so I would have a place to shower and get ready for work while mentally preparing to sleep in my car until I got my housing situation figured out. From the top to the bottom, real quick.
Graciously, my doctor did the surgeries for free; we couldn’t wait. She told me not to worry about it since I had previously volunteered to be on the board for the reproductive health clinic and helped in reviewing the education materials. I thought that since I had always been responsible it would never happen to me, but it did.
With a few new jobs and a roof over my head, I got back on my feet pretty quickly. Determined to live my best life while I was lucky enough to be alive. With a lot of hard work, I was able to double and triple my gross revenue each year until finally, I started making more money from CatheXis than all my other jobs combined.
The hardest part is believing in yourself when nobody else does, especially family. People often want you to do what is in their best interest, understandably so. Unfortunately, your ‘best’, won’t be enough for some people, but that doesn’t mean YOU aren’t enough. My advice is to be fearless. Don’t be scared to be homeless, don’t be scared to take your own path or be scared to say NO, and don’t be scared to piss people off. We are all going to be wrong sometimes, but that’s how we learn. Only YOU know what is best for you. Like Will Smith says “Fail early, fail often, fail forward”.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into CatheXis Talent Agency story. Tell us more about the business.
My passion is helping people grow. I am a nanny, waitress, yoga teacher, talent agent, and founder. I love all my jobs and everyone I work with. The most exhilarating moments are working with CatheXis, when we invest in helping a new talent put together their portfolio and they finally book their first paid job. It’s such a delight to know we are literally helping make people’s dreams come true, even if it’s just one small step in the right direction.
Right now our Talent are featured at/in malls and airports in 100 U.S. cities and 13 countries. Our goal is to continue to grow so we can help our talent travel and get more unique experiences.
What sets us apart – One director told me that he had worked with a lot of “Celebrity” talent/actors and that he got twice as much done in the same amount of time, while working with our talent “because they are so humble and easy to work with”.
It’s also what booking our talent says about your company. CatheXis requires all our signed talent to do 20 hours of community service each year. We believe that social responsibility and being a positive role-model are essential for a better world and our client’s brands. Booking with CatheXis Talent supports ‘people who care about other people’, by providing jobs to talent who are serving our community.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Today women have more opportunities than ever before. With women’s nurturing nature and exceptional communication skills, they make impeccable managers and CEOs’. Learning to be politely assertive is a skill that can help us all in business and personal life. The trick is self-mastery, controlling our emotions. Communicating from a place of love and empathy instead of impulsive/defensive, catty, and pretentious reactions. When we put the focus on being the best version of ourselves and finding a way to be an authentic, contributing member of society it’s crazy how doors begin to open.
- Address: Denver Office: 1532 N Emerson St. Suite #8 Denver, Colorado 80218
(By appointment only)
- Website: CatheXis Talent
- Phone: 303-868-3628
- Email: Leenda@CathexisTalent.com
- Instagram: @LeendaNicole
- Facebook: @CatheXisTalent
- Twitter: @LeendaNicole, @CatheXisTalent