PR for People Monthly December 2014 - Page 24

Whether she’s pursuing another degree or working in publishing, hospitality or healthcare, Ione LeBlanc visualizes a pattern emerging in her life. She knows any career path she may pursue will always encompass an entrepreneurial factor that will give her great satisfaction and purpose.

Ione was employed in the corporate world but views the environment as having limitations. Since she left the San Francisco Bay Area and headed east, her life has taken many twists and turns.

Feasting on the Big Apple

Her first stop was Washington, D.C., where she graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Her adventurous spirit led her to New York City in the 1990s, where she landed several positions within the book publishing industry. She was finally able to put her degree to good use, drafting author contracts for various book deals.

Initially, she loosely played with the idea of New York being just a temporary home. She thought, “How fun would it be to live in NYC for a year?” Presently, her journey has been close to 20 years in the making.

From the staid world of books, Ione ventured into the hospitality industry, where she worked in different capacities, including catering and evening planning for a few major hotels, as well as running her own private events. She loves the glamour, communal and social aspects of events, but really, her love of food takes the cake!

She studied at the Institute of Culinary Education and completed the hospitality business program, as well as the pastry and baking arts program. Soon she had her own small bakery business.

She discovered she much preferred working freelance because she had total creative control with few limitations. However, freelancing in the hospitality business, in Ione’s words, is often “feast or famine.” Although she appreciates the freedom and flexibility it affords, she wanted to pursue a more stable lifestyle.

A new calling

After a combination of exploring ideas, doing research, and consulting with family and friends, she witnessed a constant theme of nursing arising.

As a hospital volunteer in Harlem, Ione observed many elderly people in need who did not have the proper resources or care to fulfill their needs. In many ways, she feels the elderly are a “forgotten generation” in need of more advocates.

After a year of volunteering, Ione learned of a nursing program that offered a full scholarship, applied and soon was onto another adventure. She admits that one of the key elements in her decision was that she could care for her elderly father intermittently, until his recent death at age 91. The experience fostered in her a special gift of patience.

Through one of her current employers, a nursing home in The Bronx, she observes many of the geriatric population who do not have any family/visitors and wants to make a difference.

Ione LeBlanc:

No One’s Journey Like Your Own