We had the good fortune of connecting with Leili Eghbal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leili, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was working as HR Director at a local non-profit on Skid Row serving the homeless, and after about 4 years in that position, I had a nervous breakdown due to major job burnout. I was very frustrated by the fact that mission driven organizations weren’t truly following their missions and were instead focused on data to increase fundraising. The data was driving the work that the employees were doing often at the expense of the population being served and at the expense of their own health and well-being.
After my breakdown, and return to work, my performance suffered greatly and I was unable to continue reaching my fullest potential in that position, like I had been prior to the breakdown and burnout. At my annual review, I was given a very bad performance review and decided to take a leave of absence to consider my options. There was no wayI was going back to that environment.
During my leave, and after discussions with my mentors, I decided to take get certified in 2 programs and become a practitioner in The Human Element https://thehumanelement.bconglobal.com and The Implicit Career Search https://www.theimplicitcareersearch.com. And I decided that I no longer wanted to work for anyone. It is a travesty that people in this country, especially those who are older (like me) ofter have to take jobs, or stay in jobs for all the wrong reasons, like to have health insurance..
I wanted to help those who were inflicted with poverty of all kinds, homelessness, and unequal access to educational, personal and professional development tools. I wanted to help people achieve their potential with a program that is founded upon principles that have helped organizations and people for over 30 years.
In 2017, I started the Community School for Human Arts and MAPPS (Mentoring Adolescents & Adults for Personal and Professional Success), a human-centered personal development program that helps individuals from all walks of life define and develop a fulfilling and effective work purpose. Since then I have dedicated myself wholly to people, connecting with the potential and possibility in us all, and I believe that literally anyone can be effective when given the right support.
My program has served a wide range of clients, from established leaders to mid-career professionals to youth looking to make their way in the world. My program was part of the curriculum of 2 charter high schools in Downtown Los Angeles, serving disadvantage teenagers.
I am also dedicated to ensuring that those who face the most profound disadvantages — homelessness, incarceration, mental health issues — have equal access to the life-changing tools and resources MAPPS offers. I feel this work can do more than help individuals; it has the potential to lift whole communities.
A first-generation Iranian-American, I have always allowed my heart and values to guide my career. I have held leadership roles in the fields of publishing, technology, real estate, hospitality and social services,
My process is also influenced by holistic healing practices, especially the ideas of persistent effort and non-attachment that are essential parts of yogic philosophy. I believe that a healthy body improves quality of mind by nurturing a feeling of calm and increasing one’s natural curiosity. I founded MAPPS in 2017 for everyone who has ever thought “I haven’t reached my full potential.”
Put simply, my message is: You can.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Community School for Human Arts is a Social + Vocational Learning Enterprise of Common Good and Equal Opportunity. Our curriculum is guided by the fundamental belief that Human Development, (a process that promotes human well-being by expanding people’s capabilities to Be and to Flourish) and Capacitation (power to generate employment + income), in the form of social and emotional education, is as important as economic and financial development is to our well-being, self-sufficiency and resilience as citizens and communities.
We think of our work as a social enterprise that strives toward a more equitable distribution of educational tools normally reserved for corporate human resources departments or personalized career coaches. We are dedicated to lifting up diverse populations through our programs, not just in the United States but around the world. And we are guided by the fundamental belief that nurturing individual competence and resilience is key to our collective well-being, resulting in a healthier, more self-sustaining global community.
Our un-encumbered learning practice facilitates the discovery of individual contribution and social transition and perception from Job to Creative Labor, in other words, meaningful vocational discovery through social and behavioral/emotional skill building, self-development and self-empowerment.
Informed by holistic human resources practices, our 12-week online program guides individuals toward understanding their past experiences so they can envision more productive futures. We provide people with an Accountability and Productivity-based education for the development of their human capital or Self-Esteem/Self-Regard and support with discovery of what each individual’s unique contribution or work may be. In this way, we enhance our national social capital, something that is vital for our national progression to an all-inclusive society. There is no other school or program like this.
The Community School for Human Arts Micro schools will fill a void in global education and community building efforts. The School is positioned to bring restorative energy, stability, wellness and resilience into communities all around the world who are suffering from the many forms of poverty we see today.
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?
I would take them downtown and explore all the wonderful museums and the various districts like the Arts District, Fashion, South Park, Financial. Grammy Museum, LA Live, Grand Central Market, Union Stations, etc. and I would of course show them around Skid Row and the intense poverty that exists alongside immense wealth.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Will Schutz, founder and creator of The Human Element Sauli Danpour, CEO of Xyvest Holdings, Inc and The Wilshire Hub
Linkedin: Leili Eghbal
Youtube: The Human Whisperers