We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Celis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk means pushing against the boundaries of comfort so that you can become better acquainted with your full potential. Without taking the risks I have taken in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today nor would I be who I am today. Growth of all kind requires us to lean into uncomfortable experiences. The collection of those experiences, the memories, the lessons and even the failures are what create an intentional life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a first-generation, bilingual, queer, Latinx licensed clinical psychologist in private practice. What sets my practice apart, is that I really focus on providing services to the community that are social justice driven. Although we have come a long way as a society with dismantling social stigma around mental health services, we still have a long long way to go and I am incredibly honored to be part of that change for communities of color.
If I may be honest, I never envisioned myself in private practice. I always thought it was a business choice that I would make later on in my career. I always thought that I had to be tied to an agency or organization to do good community work and I found out pretty quickly that my career trajectory was going to look different the deeper I ventured into the field. I have had to make some tough choices, leave jobs, turn down jobs, and through this process, I have been able to find my voice, do the work that I want to do and protect my own health at the same time. We live in a society that overworks folx and places large value on what we can produce. The process of acknowledging my own humanity, setting boundaries and listening to my body, is the juncture at which I founded my business, have had enough freedom and energy to create meaningful content on social media, and co-create My Therapist Friends, a podcast centered around health and wellness for BIPOC folx.
I want people to know that I am a person with several intersecting identities, some of which I do not really benefit from in this world, and even with that in mind, I have been able to create a successful business that is authentic to me. It is true that nothing comes easy, or without sacrifice, but if that price means losing who you are, it is not worth it in the end. I hope my story inspires others to own their story as it relates to the type of work that they are called to do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend was visiting in town, I would most likely take them for a nice hike at Griffith Park or explore the Rose garden at Expo Park for an outdoor adventure. Some of my favorite places to eat would be in areas like Silver Lake, DTLA arts district, or Boyle Heights’ taco row. I would definitely take them for some delicious ceviche at Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood in Hollywood and take them for some delicious pastries at some point to Porto’s Bakery in Burbank. I like going to places that offer a selection of authentic foods or fusion of different cultures. The thing about LA is that its pretty big and can stretch far and wide. There are just so many options.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my ancestors and BIPOC communities all over the world. My ability to stand where I am today, to have the privileges that I do, is thanks to the historical choices and sacrifices that my ancestors and respective BIPOC kin have made. I am not “self-made,” I am community made and that is where the true credit is due.