Leah B. Mazzola, PhD, PCC, BCC - Founder/Owner, Executive Director
Dr. Leah has handled all business administration, management, research, and development responsibilities since founding YCI in 2013. She is an experienced leader, coaching professional, and psychology expert passionate about integrating evidence-based coaching into mainstream support services as a social change initiative. As a leader in the coach training industry, she’s committed to increasing access to rigorous, ethical, high-quality training, mentoring, and supervision for underserved communities. As a professional coach, she offers behavioral science-based coaching to support clients as they identify, tap into, and build their inner resources and resilience to enhance well-being, performance, and quality of life.
Prior to transitioning to this passion work full-time she spent 18 years in the corporate world between the finance and insurance industries. Since entering the professional coaching space in 2012, she spent 10 years in private practice serving teens and adults of all ages offering life, academic, career, and parent coaching before shifting to dedicate all of her coaching slots to organizations leading the charge to increase access to high quality coaching on a global scale. She currently splits her coaching slots between Mental Health Coaching for Lyra Health and Leadership and Executive Coaching for BetterUp. Her overarching mission across industries has been to promote self-determination, values-based goal pursuit, evidence-based decision-making, and psychologically safe work environments that foster well-being at work. She approaches all of her work as a social responsibility initiative to ensure those she supports walk away with more knowledge of the biopsychosocial contributors to thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that affords them the opportunity to recognize when and how to choose and act to positively influence outcomes for self, others, and the communities around them.
She discovered the power of coaching through her doctoral studies as she investigated why some high-risk youth overcome the barriers to success while others do not. This research led her to coaching to combat marginalization and trauma with resilience building and empowerment. Her passion for the work is very personal as a thriving adult who overcame trauma, poverty, and juvenile delinquency to create a future she never imagined possible while deep in the struggle.
PhD in Psychology with Forensic Psychology specialization
o Expertise: Criminal desistance and positive reform
o Dissertation: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Identity Change on the Path to Long-term Criminal Desistance
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Board Certified Coach – Center for Credentialing & Education
Professional Certified Coach – International Coach Federation – Registered ICF Mentor Coach
Over 250 hours of coach specific training
The Life Stuff
– a Hispanic/Indigenous American who grew up one of seven kids in poverty,
– experienced all 10 assessed Adverse Childhood Experiences,
– spent teens involved in delinquency and heavy substance abuse,
– worked at least 2 jobs at all times since 14,
– dropped out of high school junior year,
– decided to create a new path for herself at 17,
– secured first corporate job at 18,
– used an iron will, willingness to learn from those who had what she wanted to gain the professional skills necessary to thrive at work,
– bought first house at 21,
– earned GED at 24,
– paused to consider how beautiful life was on the other side of positive transformation, so became a first-generation college student at 25 to study why she was able to make it out and transform her life when so many others hadn’t,
– worked 70+ hours weekly for the next nine years as she juggled full-time corporate work, full-time school, full-time family life, and began life coaching focused side hustles that have become her full-time life’s work,
– met the love of her life at 27 in between and co-raised four securely attached, thriving, children effectively breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, and criminality for her kids.
– Earned her PhD in Psychology at 34 and walked the stage with a lump in her throat as she considered representing every young brown girl managing risk and trauma outside of their control, still feeling like every day won’t end and struggling to imagine better for themselves. This could be them too. We have no idea what we’re capable of until we decide to focus our energy on building the good within and for ourselves to make positive, meaningful contributions to our world. YCI coaches are here to guide youth to that awareness and support their efforts to overcome and thrive too.