We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Cey DeMonaco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was February of this year when the news really started circulating about the virus and I slowly started to panic. I had a 500 person event for the Google Next conference here in San Francisco in April 2020, and a similarly sized event for Oracle’s Design Group.
I had been waiting to get Google as a client since I started ABCey Events in 2008, and almost overnight my business seemed to vanish. Everything I had worked so hard for was gone.
But, it turns out the pandemic was a blessing in disguise, both personally and professionally. I was angry and resentful at first, but then I realized that the reason I lost my entire business was because of Covid-19, a zoonotic disease that was inherently caused by a complete disconnect with nature, and how we treat our planet and animals.
It was then that I decided that I wanted to make it my mission to help others learn how to live more sustainably and consciously. I had always been super fascinated by the power of plants as food and medicine, and now everything was tying in together. With this, the idea for beLeaf Retreat was born:)
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started beLeaf Retreat out of my frustration with the pandemic and it’s root causes, which I understand to be a bit of a disconnect with our natural world.
Our company is designed to offer live events, retreats, and immersive experiences at this time but we plan to expand to some other fun things in the future. Our mission is to build a community that helps people live more consciously and sustainably in their everyday lives from food to fashion, to beauty and everything in between!
We launched with a virtual retreat in January, but we are switching gears now to super curated live retreat experiences through our women’s wellness program now that we are moving into post-pandemic mode (yay)!
Our first one will be Sept 2-5 in Big Sky Montana, and then will be offering a few more through the end of the year in Sedona, Utah, Joshua Tree and Tulum. Next year we hope to expand to international retreats and trips!
To view our current retreat in Montana or to save your spot for this upcoming retreat, click here. https://www.beleafretreat.com/big-sky-retreat
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend visiting from out of town, i’d probably take her for a little drive from the valley over Topanga Canyon to get to Malibu. I always like to pick up some fresh juices and salads/ snacks at Erewhon in Calabasas along the way.
A perfect day could start with a hike at Zuma Canyon Trailhead, or Solstice Canyon. Both of these are pretty moderate hikes with scenic ocean views. Then, we’d head over to the beach, and Point Dume is always really nice. We’d spend the day relaxing and reading books and chatting away.
After this, we’d check out Salvaje Malibu for some outdoor yoga and maybe even a sound bath experience!
Next we’d head to Venice, which is always fun to walk around the shops and has some great vegan restaurants, so would definitely check out Matthew Kenney’s Plant-Food and Wine or the Butcher’s Daughter. YUM!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Two of my most favorite mentors and teachers have been Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Ed Winters. They have both taught me how to best live and lead with compassion.
I also am super grateful to my parents who have loved me unconditionally and supported me on my new venture, and to my husband and two daughters Aya and Ava. They are the two of the reasons I am fighting for a better future!