Fifth Third Bank’s vice president of sales, LeAnita Ragland-Brooks, is not your typical bank executive, she is a woman who balances her dual roles as wife and mother, and her dual passions as a banker and jewelry designer.
The LeAnita jewelry collection is flourishing, as the designer has added a few famous faces to her clientele list. Here LeAnita–she goes by her first name only when she’s in jewelry designer mode — gives rolling out a peek into her well-balanced world.
How do you describe your jewelry?
It’s one of a kind, breathtaking, vintage pieces; Tibetan pieces, all genuine sterling, gold and gem stones.
How did you get started?
I’ve always been creative and I have been designing for 20 years. I loved creating pieces that are statement pieces that a woman would wear and she would not see herself coming and going. It’s a very limited edition.
Designing jewelry takes a lot of time and patience. When do you find the time to do it?
It’s interesting because I always have designs in my head. I’m designing constantly when I see people, I am inspired by a variety of things through travel and art and nature, so I design in the evening hours, sometimes when I travel on a plane. My favorite time to design is when I’m on a plane, on the tarmac, and the plane is delayed. People are antsy and wanting to get to a location, but I pull out my iPod and my design and it’s wonderful.
Jewelry design is quite different from your day job.
I’m a vice president of sales at Fifth Third Bank. That’s totally the opposite. It’s a ying/yang!
What are the keys to that yin and yang balance?
The number one key is it’s a marathon not a sprint. Compartmentalizing and understanding that you’re in it for the long haul. And when you’re in the moment, really feel that moment. When I’m designing, and creating, it’s all about design and creativity. And then when I’m managing and leading a team, I’m totally focused on that. And the other piece that I balance is being a wife, and being a mother. I have two children; one is a junior in high school, the other is only in seventh grade.
Who wears your designs?
I’ve designed a piece for Angela Bassett, I’ve designed a piece for Alice McCord from the Real Housewives of New York, a month ago. I’ve also designed and gifted to our First Lady, Michelle Obama and I’ve designed and gifted to Oprah Winfrey.
What kind of pieces did you design for the first lady and Oprah?
For the first lady, it was a baroque pearl and Tibetan shell pearl pendant; for Oprah, it was a green chelcodney and green jade pendant.
I’ve got a variety of clients, I have clients across the globe in Australia, the Upper East Side of New York, and California, so my brand is a global brand.
LeAnita’s jewelry designs can be viewed on her website, www.LeAnita.com.