I am a believer that all it takes is one person who firmly believes that they can change the world. Leah Pump believes she can, and guess what; I believe she can too!
A few years ago a friend of mine invited me to a women’s luncheon. I was expecting a nice little afternoon out with my friend but what I got was something much more surprising.
This event, held at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles, was profoundly much more than “just” a luncheon. The Ladylike Foundation held an annual scholarship luncheon for deserving high school girls with a 3.5 GPA or higher. In addition, women of excellence were being honored with an award and recognition for their contributions to their communities, all while being a great example of a leader.
A beautiful young woman took the stage. Her name is Leah Pump. I was so drawn to her energy and beauty. It wasn’t her outer appearance that captivated me, but it was her inner glow and optimism. I wanted to meet her and I wanted to know more about her foundation.
I was able to attend another scholarship luncheon that Leah put on the following year, which was just as excellent as the previous one. It would be another year before I sat down with this beautiful woman to find out her story and motivation behind what she does.
On Tuesday April 21, 2015, I invited Leah to sit down and talk with me. To no surprise she walked up dressed very lady-like in a stunning black and gray patterned dress with red high heels. Her black Celine bag was the perfect accessory beside her warm welcoming smile. Her smile and her spirit are her signature and the reasons, I believe, that most people feel comfortable with her.
Our Starbucks green tea and white chocolate mocha got our conversation started just right! I opened up right away with complimenting her on how good she looks. She seemed to have lost weight since the last time I had seen her out. She explained that she has a newer, healthier lifestyle. The biggest shock was when she told me the weight battle that she’s had since she was a child. “I was a fat kid,” said Leah. “People made fun of me. No one believes that I was a big kid unless they knew me from back then.”
“Tell me about your life growing up Leah,” I said.
“Well, my mom was a schoolteacher and very strict when my brother and I were growing up,” she began. “I wasn’t allowed to do much. There was school, homework, and church. I wasn’t able to have guy friends call me until I was thirteen,” said Leah. She told me how creative she was as a child. She loved to sing, act and dance, which was very similar to her father. “ I ‘m a daddy’s girl. My dad was an actor so he is creative like me.” Thankfully Leah was able to express herself through acting classes, and taking piano lessons. All the while, Leah’s mother was still very adamant about getting an education. “It wasn’t if you went to college, it was which college will you attend in my household”, she chuckled.
Ultimately Leah grew up and of course attended college. She began a relationship with a man that she knew wasn’t wise to be involved with at the time. Her ex boyfriend was much older than she was and was somewhat manipulative. Although she describes him as being no good for her, he was also the master teacher in many lessons for her. These lessons would appear several years later when she formed her foundation and would begin to teach other young ladies how to value themselves. After this relationship dwindled, Leah rededicated herself to the Lord and vowed to be celibate until she was married. “I felt like my sexual ties to my ex wouldn’t allow me to think clearly so I decided that I would not have sex until I married my husband. Little did I know that would be seven years later”, she joked.
Leah established her organization in the comfort of a bible study group with a few friends who recognized that there weren’t enough foundations teaching young ladies the fundamentals of being lady-like. When I asked her “Do you believe that you will change the trajectory of young girls’ lives and the way especially African American women are perceived?” she answered emphatically “Yes! Yes I do believe that”.
“What is your goal for the young ladies you mentor?” I asked.
She says, “Our goal is to teach them how to be a L.A.D.Y. The “L” stands for Love. A true lady must love God, herself, and others. “A” stands for Always Appropriate. A lady knows how to be appropriate at any place, at any time. “D” is destined for greatness. A lady is always goal oriented. And “Y” stands for yearn to learn. A lady never stops learning and experiencing new things.”
Leah gladly attributes much of The Ladylike Foundation’s success to her wonderful husband Dana Pump who is a successful businessman in his own right. Dana has effectively grown his own companies, Double Pump, Inc. and The Harold & Carole Pump Foundation, along with his twin brother David. “He’s incredible with business”, Leah says of Dana. “He helped me take The Ladylike Foundation to another level. We’ve grown exponentially where we’ve raised money to give away scholarships to young ladies going to college each year.”
The Ladylike Foundation welcomes donations to continue spreading the word. Currently, their curriculum is being taught in two middle schools to more than 50 students! Her goal is to educate, empower, and inspire young ladies living in underprivileged communities nationwide. When I asked Leah if she had one message to get across the world, she responded, “Changing the lives of young ladies, exponentially. One day at a time.”
To find out more about Leah Pump and The LadyLike Foundation, please visit www.TheLadyLike.com