In many ways, life is a skill just like any other. You learn as you go, fail at times, and take every experience as a chance to improve. Just like with sports, cooking, writing, or any other talent – there are coaches like Leslie Plesac to help you improve.
“My true calling is the work I do as a master certified life coach,” Plesac said. “I work with women and men who are looking for more in their lives. Just like a personal trainer inspires you to work harder in fitness; a life coach is trained to ask the questions that help you identify your truest desires and is a catalyst for change.”
Plesac is also Executive Director of the Sinai Forum Speakers’ Series at Purdue Northwest where speakers share their stories from the world of politics, foreign policy, and countless other careers. Past speakers at the Sinai forum included people like James Comey and Captain Sully Sullenberger. Plesac also serves as creator/host of the Courage Summit, a TEDx-style event where speakers share their real-life stories of resilience.
“What I’ve found is that everyone has a story, and I see myself as a kind of curator for those stories,” Plesac said. “Everything that we go through in those stories prepares us for how we’re going to show up in this world. I think all of my jobs are kind of intertwined in that regard.”
Everything that Plesac does as both a coach and curator is designed to help people consider different perspectives, which she thinks is one of the most important things anyone can do.
“For each courage story that has been shared at Courage Summit, and with each person I coach, I feel a deep sense of honor that I am trusted to help them consider framing things differently,” she said. “This doesn’t mean pretending things are ok when they aren’t, but if I can help someone shift their perspective enough that it lessens suffering or plants a seed for peacefulness, I feel like I am living my purpose here on Earth.”
And the thing about different perspectives, according to Plesac, is that they’re not as hard to appreciate as you might have thought.
“More than ever, we live in a world that runs on the idea of ‘if I think differently than you do, I should hate you,’” she said. “I believe that when we listen to people who think differently than we do and take the time to get to know them, in most cases, we have more similarities than differences. It’s our privilege to listen, learn, and contribute to the collective good of all. We don’t have to agree, but we do need to be kind to each other.”
Plesac is the proud parent to two daughters, Madeline and Natalie, and has been a member of the Region community for most of her life. She was raised in Crown Point, and has lived in Valparaiso for the last 22 years.
“We are truly blessed to have a sense of community here in Valpo,” Plesac said. “One of my favorite memories when my girls were smaller was that they loved that everywhere we went, we knew somebody. We felt a sense of belonging and care very much about what happens here.”
Outside of her work, Plesac has served as a volunteer on the board of directors for the Porter County Community Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, Valparaiso Rotary, and the Iota Chapter of Tri Kappa.
“I believe that in giving to others we gain so much,” she said. “I’d like to think that in the work and volunteering I do I have contributed to the collective good of our community. I hope I leave this world a little better than it was when I got here.”
You can learn more about Plesac’s and her work as a coach at www.leslieplesac.com. For more information about the Sinai forum and Courage Summit, visit www.pnw.edu/sinai-forum and www.couragesummit.com.