What do you get when you put a mentor, socialite and educator together? You get the beautiful and delightful Leah Pump.
Leah is a former teacher and principal and her non profit “The Lady Like Foundation” has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships as well as runs a year round mentorship program for adolescent girls including resource programs, workshops, and events that challenge the ladies to reach their highest potential and become the successful, well-rounded “Lady” they were created to be. Do you have a life goal in becoming a philanthropist and starting your own 501c3? Well we have the scoop on everything you need to know, read on!
1. Why did you choose your profession?
The creation of my organization came out a lot of bad personal decisions on my part. I was raised in a very conservative and religious family where everything had structure. So when I went to college I let go of all of that and fell love in love with a guy that I ended actually marrying that treated me terribly. I had to humble myself and go back home, get a job and that is when I also returned to my church. This is where I started a ministry for adolescent girls called the “Ladylike” ministry that cautioned them on everything from good hygiene to drugs to bad relationships . From there on out I became there counselor, their mentor, I couldn’t get rid of them (lol!). I would have them meet in my small little apartment each week. We did everything from leadership classes to makeup classes to college application workshops. Then one day a girlfriend of mine told me I should package it into a 501c3. And at first I was reluctant. But eventually I did it and filed the paperwork and so it became the official “Lady Like Foundation” in 2007. I knew that one of things I wanted to do with the Foundation was to give out scholarships like my grandparents.
2. What is the favorite part of your job?
I am determined to make sure the girls I mentor don’t end up making the same mistakes I did. I love to see them grow and flourish into well rounded ladies!
3. What is the most difficult part of your job?
Fundraising. I didn’t become good at fundraising until I met my husband (Dana Pump) who has a foundation that has given away over $10M dollars for cancer research. He showed me how to tell my story, and through networking how to get in front of the right people and what to do after you have met those people. He also showed me how to do grant writing.
Some don’t know this but I struggled even selling one ticket to my very first event. I asked God if you let someone buy one ticket than that would be my sign that this was something he really wanted me to do and I went to the mailbox and there was one envelope for one ticket.
4. Who is your mentor (if any)?
So many, but definitely my grandmother and my husband. My grandmother who financed my entire operation when I first started. My parents and even my pastor who has been my life coach.
5. Best piece of advice for someone pursuing your field?
You have to be all in. It is so hard to do this. You have to really have a passion and calling for what you do. You also have to be willing to believe in your cause will no one else does and even when no one is helping you. Can you still in a pandemic, bless people and help people when you don’t know where the resources are going to come from? This takes me back to when sometimes you even have to be willing to take it out of your own pocket. I remember feeding my first group of girls with just cereal, cookie and punch or spaghetti and sometimes even just the pizza hut deal specials. Philanthropy really isn’t a money maker. So many people think I get rich and live off my foundation. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
6. If you have not chosen this profession what would have you chosen instead?
I definitely would have stayed in education as a teacher or a principal. I adore teaching. My students to this day still reach out to me. Now once a week, I volunteer and go into local schools in the inner cities teaching a course I developed called the “LadyLike Class” curriculum for Middle and High School girls.
7. Favorite designer?
I love designer fashion but I also am known to wear some of my own pieces from own boutique that I can dress up with a nice Hermès bag and some Louboutins. For high end fashion, I would say my favorite Italian designer is Dolce Gabana. I love their patterns and how it fits curves and its a staple that you can keep it forever. I am also a shoe freak and have thousands of shoes. I have everything from Manolos to Christian Louboutins to Amina Muaddi. I wear dresses every single day, I dress them up and dress them down with sneakers and even slides.
8. Favorite makeup brand?
I mix and match. I go from Laura Mercier to Mac to NYX. NYX has really good concealer. I also love Nars tinted moisturizer and bronzer. Fenty Beauty is also good for highlighters.
9. Favorite skin brand?
I believe you have to have a great canvas before putting makeup on. I currently use BeautyBio products and I have my dermatologist that mixes my own moisturizer for me. I also like Neutrogena SPF products.
10. If you could only choose 5 items to put in your purse everyday, what would they be?
Makeup bag, baby wipes, hand sanitizer/lotion, mask (especially these days) and cell phone!
11. Anything you would like our readers to know that you are supporting, selling or creating?
Please stay tuned for my memoir book “Seven” being released on Amazon and on all platforms this Holiday season! You can donate to my charity year long by visiting TheLadyLike.com.
UC Berkeley (Bachelor of Arts) and Pepperdine (Masters Degree in Education)
Instagram: @Leah_LadyLike Facebook: @LeahWalkerPump
Amazing interview. I learned so much!