Experiences from Seabury Hall guide Leila Monroe through her busy life


Courtesy of Leila Monroe

Seabury Hall alumna Leila Monroe pursues an eclectic range of professional pursuits.

Renae Lallo, Staff Writer

Seabury Hall alumna Leila Monroe has not exactly had a traditional career path, and she juggles an eclectic group of activities and occupations. Monroe currently lives in California and is the co-founder of a law firm, a lawyer practicing environmental law, and the owner and operator of two businesses: Smiley’s Saloon and Hotel, and a farm that will source the bar in coming years.

Monroe enjoys her nontraditional career choices and finds the balance of her two professional areas quite lovely.

“I run a bar and have to be at that business, and I have this venue where we produce music, but then I also still do practice ocean conservation law and policy. So I have this split and I think it’s a fairly unusual route I would say… it works really well for me, I really enjoy it. I am quite busy, but I really love the balance between those two professional areas,” Monroe shared.

Seabury Hall set Monroe up for success and helped her further develop her creativity and work ethic; both of which help motivate and inspire her. “The work ethic I developed at Seabury I think was very valuable as well as the creative thinking and dedication to excellence that the teachers required. I think all those skills were very valuable. It prepared me well for college and for life beyond Seabury. It’s a really remarkable place,” commented Monroe.

Although Monroe felt well prepared for the academic piece of her new life as a college student at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she was thrown into an unfamiliar culture. “I went to Washington D.C., and I wasn’t prepared for how the culture is there. I found the culture to be very East Coast, a little bit rigid a little bit less friendly than I was accustomed to. I did find it a little hard to get used to the weather, and the different style of being,” Monroe remarked.

Monroe was well prepared for life beyond Seabury, and although she encountered some bumps in the road, she was able to overcome all of them.

In 2001, Monroe broke her neck and all the upper vertebrae in her back as a result of a snowboarding accident. Monroe does not regret going out that morning, and she has become more appreciative for things that most of us take for granted, such as walking.

“I think that is a big part of what made me so committed to pursuing my true passions and to not doing anything that was not true to my heart,” Monroe commented, reflecting on her accident.

Monroe believes that these bumps in the road have helped make her who she is today and she looks back on life with no regrets.

In pursuing her passions, Monroe took some unexpected turns. She did not end up doing exactly what she expected, but through perseverance, she has found her passion and continues to pursue what she enjoys doing.

Monroe has always been very determined and has done everything to the best of her ability. One of her Seabury Hall teachers, Mr. Todd Van Amburgh, remembers Monroe as being “very organized and engaged in playing her parts and playing them well.”

“There have been times when I thought I was going to do one thing, but maybe the job I had applied for or the program I wanted to participate in, I didn’t get that job or didn’t accept it. By not letting those things get me down, there’s always an opportunity around the corner, if you’re dedicated to your ultimate goals,” commented Monroe.

Monroe is currently working in environmental law at Clear Resource Law, which she helped cofound. At Clear Resource Law, Monroe fights to protect our ocean resources and has played an important role in many legislative policy wins.

In addition to her job at Clear Resource Law, Monroe also own Smiley’s Saloon and Hotel in California. Through the bar, Monroe is able to cater to numerous musicians and actually runs a residency program for musicians. “We bring musicians to our venue, and they have five days to engage in health and wellness activities, write music, and then perform the music. So we’re building musicians identities as leaders,” Monroe explained.

In addition to the bar, Monroe said, “We own and operate an organic farm, so the farm produces vegetables, herbs, and flowers that we use down at the bar.”

Monroe has become very busy with the start up of all three of these businesses just last year.

Monroe continues to stay true to her heart in her career choices and pursues what she enjoys doing. “Just being very true to the things that I’m passionate about has been the most defining characteristic of the career choices that I’ve made. That I think is something I developed from the time I spent at Seabury,” Monroe explained.

In realizing who she was and following her passions, Monroe found her way back to the ocean. “Following my passion for being in around the ocean that lead me to realize that that was the place that I wanted to spend my professional effort,” Monroe remarked.

Monroe’s love for nature and adventurous personality draws her to the outdoors where she can take a break from her many careers. In order to stay energized and ready to juggle the many aspects of her career, Monroe takes time to spend with her husband and friends doing outdoor activities, such as paddle boarding.

Monroe believes that keeping a balanced lifestyle is very important, so finding time to take a break and relax is important to her. “All of those life balance things are really important to keep an eye on,” commented Monroe.

With her many accomplishments, Monroe sets the bar high for the Seabury alumni.
We have a lot to learn from Monroe’s passionate, determined attitude and perseverance in everything she does, and the Seabury Hall community is honored to have her as an alumna.