Lesley Ann-Forbes: My journey to wholeness healed Me
Lesley Ann-Forbes has been a corporate training professional in the telecom industry for over 10 years; teaching and helping develop others is her passion.
During her professional career journey, she has facilitated hundreds of training programmes and initiatives for some of the major telecom companies in Canada including Sprint Canada, Rogers and Fibernetics. Many have received her voice and her authenticity to see others shine has created many professional partnerships.
Her platform, Forbes Voiceover, was born from the energy of that community. Many have commented on Lesley’s profound depth, warmth and articulation in her voice. This has rippled into many requests for her voiceprint to be the voice of their company’s brands. Lesley’s mission is to evolve into other areas of the voiceover industry including radio, audiobooks and animation.
In this interview with ESTHER IJEWERE, Lesley shares her journey and the inspiration behind her new book, Never Perfect Always Blessed.
MY childhood into my teen years created the fabric of my life and the passion I have to do the work I do. My parents are immigrants from Trinidad; I am their third child and the only one born in Canada. Although I was afforded the blessing of a loving family, my journey had many difficult aspects.
My parents had a tumultuous marriage and my mother didn’t live in Canada during my formative years. Her absence and the absence of examples of how to demonstrate and curate self-love, self-trust and confidence in my abilities, created many wounds. I was always looking for external validation, acceptance and love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people.
When I became pregnant at the age of 18, I was a very wounded child who now had to raise a baby boy into a man. At the time, I felt completely alone, unworthy of love and not enough. Being abandoned by my son’s father and the absence of my mother were the seeds of my self-suffering.
Gratefully, as I grew into a mature, independent woman, I realised the journey of raising my son was my grandest and most grounding root in every aspect of my life. Much has come full circle gifting me with wisdom, strength, grace, faith, abundant blessings and most importantly, purpose.
Being a leader of LIGHT & mentor for young girls and women, especially single mothers is my purpose. To inspire a change in the narrative of their thinking to honor their journey, their children and their power is my heart’s greatest desire. To cultivate a connection with their divine source, trusting it and using it in every aspect of their lives. To inspire and demonstrate self-loving habits, including teaching our children how to love and accept themselves.
Inspiration Behind Never Perfect Always Blessed
My writing was inspired when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Due to the progression of her disease, I was unable to have depth-filled conversations with the woman I adored and loved so deeply.
Writing was cathartic for me. It helped me to navigate through certain aspects of my life and also reflect on the enlightened moments and lessons.
When my mother died, I read the chapter I wrote about her to the congregation. I explained that I intended to turn my writing into a book to honour her legacy and all that she poured into me, especially my spirituality. I hoped sharing my stories would help others to know the difficult moments in our journeys are not punishments from GOD they are simply teachers of growth, resilience, wisdom and perspective – you cannot know LIGHT without knowing DARKNESS. GOD will not bring you to it without bringing you out of it – anointed, loved, accepted and forgiven ALWAYS
Motivation Behind Forbes Voiceover Platform
Being a professional voiceover artist was universe gifted. I never had an aspiration to be a voice artist; to be completely honest, I didn’t really like my voice. I always thought it was too deep for a woman’s voice. My career as a corporate trainer afforded me many opportunities to speak and teach in front of many groups and classrooms.
My voice was always complimented for its depth and diction.
Being in telecommunications, I was asked by clients to use my voice for their automated systems. My voiceprint was used by various businesses and extended across the tri-cities of Cambridge, Kitchener- Waterloo and surrounding areas. I was never compensated for my talent, but my voice was everywhere so to speak. When my employment ended with my last corporate company, I decided to launch Forbes Voiceover.
My client base was already established and has since doubled. I now have three professional artists that have joined my team. Our team’s portfolio of talent includes French Bilingual business automation, voiceover highlighted in the first emancipation film made in Canada, audiobook narration and informational videos.
We are aspiring for more opportunities in animation, radio and commercials.
Ripple Effect Of Training People To Find Their Voice And Career Path
My training and facilitation career afforded me the privilege to mentor and professionally develop many souls. I’ve since seen many of my students excel and expand tremendously in their careers. I want to believe my contribution made a difference to their belief in themselves to learn and grow. Being an adult facilitator requires the skill of motivation, empathy and zero arrogance.
Adults don’t learn because you told them to – they learn because they see the benefit of skill growth impacting their lives and personal development. You won’t gain respect just because you’re standing in front of a room lecturing your knowledge.
The ripple I believe I have created is a human authentic connection rooted in another’s soul’s climb to success. Souls are sent to each other for a reason. I certainly don’t remember the names of my students from over the years, but they are definitely an integral part of my life’s fabric. Their connection mattered just as much to me, maybe even more.
I love what I do and I know my corporate path served its purpose in various ways, including becoming a successful entrepreneur, speaker and spiritual coach.
The Journey So Far
The journey has definitely strengthened my faith, self-discipline, a “Just Start” mentality, even if I don’t know my next move and the greatest fulfilment of self-rewarding and inspiring energy. Being the CEO & creator of your own brand takes courage; getting up every day and putting forth that mustard seed of faith and dedication to move forward.
Even if it’s just posting a small WIN or initiating a willingness to learn a new skill or approach to doing business – consistent effort of planting those seeds will bear fruit.
Each member of my Voice Over artist team was universe-attracted not intentional; whatever I’ve needed with intention, I knew GOD had not brought me that far in order to drop me. Once I trusted its manifestation and once I surrendered the control and the how, it manifested and continues to do so.
Most importantly, I have also cultivated much self-trust and “I am enough” mentality. I created it so I have the power to cultivate its success. I am extremely proud of Forbes Voiceover and Never Perfect Always Blessed. They are my manifestations of God’s divine will and my purpose.
The challenges I’ve encountered the most have been truly refining and defining my brand and whom I want to serve. I launched Forbes Voiceover, then launched/published my book Never Perfect Always Blessed under my company’s name, as it was my written voice. But I wanted to also serve young women, teens and single mothers in their self-love and spiritual journey.
I’ve been told my voice is soothing to listen to, so using Forbes Voiceover as my platform to use my voice in various aspects was my intention. Unfortunately, I still found my brand was not clearly defining all aspects of me.
Gratefully, the universe afforded me a Brand mentor to work with, so I am in the process of refining my brand name and areas of service. Forbes Voiceover will always be a part of my brand family, but the forefront of my brand name will become Lesley Ann Forbes – As I am my brand.
My Journey To Wholeness
My journey to wholeness healed me. It taught me self-love awareness; reflection and most importantly it solidified my commitment to trusting myself and allowing my divinity to lead my life. It’s cultivated my courage in many ways, because when becoming my authentic self unapologetically, requires maintaining and drawing boundaries on my energy, and loyalty and being governed by my own values.
Other Projects And Activities
As I continue to refine my brand, I will be expanding my passion to mentor and facilitate self-love retreats. My biggest seedling project is creating a 2-day weekend retreat with young females and single mothers. I want it to be two days of various impactful fun activities, guest speakers with powerful positive women and self-love workshops.
I’m trying to create greater visibility for my serving by hosting guided meditation workshops and book readings in Kitchener, surrounding areas and my home city Scarborough. I’m also hoping to have more opportunities to facilitate my voice for the soul workshop in schools and non-for-profit organisations and youth advocate organisations.
What I Enjoy About My Job
I love teaching; I love connecting authentically with other souls. People easily gravitate to my energy. I’ve been told that I make people feel safe to be vulnerable and open up about what hurts their souls. It’s a privilege to be invited into someone’s journey and inspire light into their darkness. I know this is my soul’s purpose.
Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
The first woman is my mother Pearl Theresa Legerton Forbes. She wove the fabric of my relationship with GOD, spirit, and source in how she raised me. She taught me the foundational spiritual values that I use to navigate through the world and toward my light when things are dark or challenging.
Iyanla Vanzant – First black woman I have seen in the media that made such an impactful healing ripple for black women, men and families. She has a fierce love of God and her knowing of her truth, spiritual gifts, worth and power. She is raw, real and compassionate. She demonstrates her trust in God’s will to navigate and enlighten her in her healing journey with other souls. She is a pivotal inspiration to my drive to want to make ripples of change and healing in the hearts of our younger generation of women.
Viola Davis – There’s something about Viola Davis that inspires me to always remain true to myself whenever I see or hear her speak. She has grounded energy and truly empathetic nature to the human experience. I see it in her passion to be her character unapologetically with fierce respect for capturing truth in their story. She reminds me regardless of where this journey takes me, always shine in my truth with grace, kindness and pure willingness to be real in all of it. She’s confident, classy and a true queen. I’m inspired to succeed with the same authenticity she exemplifies as well as with the power & liberation in knowing that I’m worthy of it! She’s a superstar that I see myself, in various ways. Her shine does not blind it makes me proud.
How I Stay Grounded As A Writer, Public Speaker, Advocate And Coach
My management of all of it is truly much easier than it was when I was in the corporate world. The titles you listed above are what the human world would use to describe my gifts. My spiritual world uses my soul to drive those titles because they come very naturally to me. They inspire my joy and drive to help others.
I’m also a huge advocate for my own self-love, so maintaining healthy practices like meditation/prayer, yoga, running and reading all pour into my love cup. I maintain healthy boundaries in order to ensure I can abundantly pour into others to inspire them to their own light, healing and self-love.
My Thoughts On The Representation Of Black Women In The Movie Industry
As a young girl, I remember my mother and me watching the movie Lady Sings the Blues with Diana Ross & Billy D Williams – That movie was one of the first memories I have of seeing a black star on film. Then, I remember watching the movie Roots with Cicely Tyson.
Both movies moved me to watch, but the strife and dysfunction of the stories, although true, left the impression that strife was always going to play a part in the roles of black women in film – painful circumstances we had to fight to get out of to live the dream.
Gratefully, the evolution of the roles black women play in film has become more powerful, functional, dynamic and wealthy, including in animation and fiction films. Black women are beginning to be seen as leaders, courageous, magical and most importantly greater represented than they were in my younger days. The only black cartoon I ever saw black characters in was Fat Albert.
We’ve come a long way, but I still believe we can be more represented holistically, as I know film does not only include actors and actresses; filmmakers and creators contribute to the representation pool too they tell our stories… so integral.
One Thing I Wish To Change In The Art And Media Industry
Resources mentors and opportunities to launch new and original ideas, to bring the community together, to inspire help and be a representation to our younger generation. I found it difficult to find organisations to collaborate on my vision with; e-mails rarely get read and follow up even less. Having more opportunities to network with like-minded and up-and-coming mentors that are willing to contribute their time and experience are priceless gems to someone trying to navigate their way through red tape.
On Women Who Are Trying To Find Their Path In Life, Especially Single Moms Doing It Alone
As the single mother of an adult man, and who had to do it alone, my heart and soul would share these words with you: Accept that it will never be perfect and you will make mistakes so don’t riddle yourself with guilt. God knew what he was doing by blessing you with your child. And your child chose you as their mother, so consistently give yourself grace and forgiveness.
I would tell her no matter how hard it gets, never lose faith or stop talking to God. His divine will does show up when you least expect it or in disguise for what you may be expecting. I would tell her not to compare herself or judge herself against others.
Not everything is as it looks. Make time to connect authentically with her child or children. Build trust with them. Even when they mess up or disappoint you, be reminded that they are souls that have to learn and test their values through their own experiences too.
Lastly, I would tell her to trust herself and her self-integrity. I was once told by an acquaintance that I vulnerably opened up to about feeling guilty that my son didn’t have his father – that if I had opted to bring a man into our lives to live with us it may have given my son a better experience to becoming a man. Interesting how people feel entitled to place judgement on your life because you’re doing it alone.
My son has told me many times how grateful he is that I did raise him independently without bringing a man into our home. Although he was aware of the men that I dated, he always knew our home was sacred to us and only us. That was an integral safety value to my son due to the absence of his father. Trust your gut and never betray yourself or your children for the opinions of others.
One last snip it – find time for yourself – even if it’s eating your favourite chocolate bar in your car – alone listening to an Anita Baker track (Smile). Take a minute, breathe, dream and know your turn will come. Be patient and know the true joy will be seeing the fruits of all that you’ve woven into your child/children manifest in the human they become and the human you are becoming.
Being A Woman Of Rubies
My passion to serve, inspire and fulfil my God-defined purpose to lead healing for young women, single mothers and souls in suffering makes me a Woman of Rubies. I am using my life to inspire the light in others. So, many of us are just existing, we are not truly living. Living requires true engagement and courage to be authentic in honour of the journey that God has blessed you with regardless of the external circumstances.
The message is you are enough, you are worthy of happiness and abundance, and you are loved – the universe is on your side. God lives within you and you are never apart. He’s doing it for you, not for you. Trust your journey.