Leeyan Jeffers may not have read all of the Emily Post books, but she has all intentions of becoming as versed in etiquette as the expert in social graces.
After years of helping young people as a personal development trainer, 32-year-old Jeffers believes she is now ready and equipped to offer in-person classes on etiquette. She has been offering online classes using the Zoom platform since 2021. She hopes to begin her in-person classes next month.
"My classes are on Saturdays and Sundays for two to three hours. We cover deportment and first impressions, social skills, intro to dining, beauty and grooming, personal style and branding for success, and digital etiquette," Jeffers told WMN.
But, she said, she covers more than just about social graces.
"Etiquette is about personal awareness and personal development, not just about knowing how to use a knife and fork. Some of my students may be struggling with certain things, so while I do teach etiquette I try to figure out how how to help. So we discuss things like time management, domestic violence, diet and nutrition, mental health and wellness, especially for pre-teens and teens. There are other things outside the realm of social media, and access to all this technology can be used in a good or bad way. So we discuss the things they may be posting or sharing, and even in life in general."
Jeffers, a former CAL employee, said during the almost ten years she worked with the airline she had interacted with people from all walks of life and she was able to see the value of etiquette.
"I have always been interested in etiquette in some form. There is a proper way to do things, and my work as a part-time model and being around so many different people in different situations made me see this."
After leaving CAL, she decided to channel her energy into formalising her etiquette training and making it financially viable. She will soon complete a three-part course that covers table manners, deportment and business etiquette, as well as master in etiquette certification course.
"I came across an etiquette page on Facebook, and until then I didn't think I could make a living out of it. But I sat on the idea for a couple years before acting on it."
Jeffers used her work in personal development with Red Runway as a foundation. Red Runway is an organisation that gives upcoming models a platform to learn the skills needed to enter and excel in the fashion industry.
"During the pandemic, I was in charge of online sessions in personal development with the teens and children at Red Runway. I enjoyed the sessions, and when they ended I ran a free etiquette four-week course. I thought it was just going to be five to ten people, but 200 people signed up...That was when I realised people were interested in learning and I decided to continue classes. This was in October 2021."
She said she also utilises her resources at Red Runway to add value to her etiquette programmes, bringing in trained facilitators to talk about different developmental areas as guest speakers in her classes. Her intention is to gradually build on the programme.
"After completing the courses I am currently doing I will definitely move on because one should never stop learning. My main goal is to enhance my programmes, and eventually I will approach schools and corporations, in addition to running my own programmes. And if I can expand regionally, I'd like to do that."
In time, she said, she would like to do a degree in international relations and be exposed to protocol as well, as "They (etiquette and protocol) go hand in hand."
Follow Leeyan Jeffers on:
Instagram: leeyanjeffers and l.j_etiquette
Facebook: Leeyan Jeffers