"I met Jeff when he was brought in as a mentor at my summer camp, and have had the great fortune of being able to stay in touch with him for the last eight years. Each interaction leaves me feeling more alive…Jeff is one of the few sources of this most valuable kind of influence that I get...
Jeff is one of those people who has the keys to unlock all of the power and potential buried so deep in others that we didn’t even know they were there. He has the unique ability to articulate complex issues in a way that makes a client feel that he or she is figuring out the answers for himself or herself."
"Jeff gave a talk at my camp when I was 16 and I immediately knew that he understood the things that mattered to me better than any other adult I’d met. When I approached him after that talk, he listened intently and gave me a number of new ways in which to handle what I had thought was an impossible friend situation. I knew Jeff was a person who understood me, though we had just met. When I told my mother about Jeff, and his perspective, she was intrigued as well.
I’ve never been a ‘troubled’ child, but when my parents divorced, my mother had put me into traditional therapy. At 15 then, I couldn’t stand therapists, and like me, my mom was looking for something different. After some serious discussion, we decided to hire Jeff, though we lived in Florida, and he was in California.
Six years later, I cannot put a price on Jeff’s influence on my life. I struggled with the issues that every girl faces as she grows from a teenager into a woman: body image, building relationships, and figuring out what I want from life. Jeff has taught me the steps to being the person I want to be, especially how to think differently and approach life with a very empowered attitude. He’s helped me set and achieve goals that have strengthened my character, my confidence, and my relationships.
With Jeff’s guidance, I was able to find the right college to attend and have the courage to go there when most adults in my life felt that it was the wrong choice. Jeff’s advice often goes against the advice I get from others, and but it has always lead me to a place where I can be at my best. At 22, I can say that I am proud of who I am. I’ve accomplished so much: being a positive role model to young girls as a summer camp counselor, getting the impossible paid fashion design internship in NYC, and now as a college graduate working full time in fashion, living in Boston and in a loving, stable relationship.
It’s never been easy, but Jeff has helped me overcome many of the obstacles. He pushes me to be true to myself and my values, even if it is not the popular or easiest choice to make. In the end, it has always been worth it. I would recommend Jeff to anyone, at any age, any gender. With Jeff, it’s always about moving forward, and getting the most out of life, and who doesn’t want that?”
"Yesterday I found myself in a situation that made me realize just how much I have got from these courses. Two years ago my group of girlfriends suddenly started not talking to me, backstabbing me and trying to make my life impossible. After a month of taking this, I decided I didn’t want them in my life.
For a year they still texted me, shouted at me whenever they saw me and made it perfectly clear that they really hated me. I was really lucky and got closer to other friends I’ve had all my life and are really true to me, but I hadn’t spent so much time with them (I spent all my time with the other girlfriends!).
I Well, yesterday, two years after not talking to those girls, I received a Facebook inbox message from one of these girlfriends asking me how I am, and telling me that she would like to be my friend on Facebook again because after all we were once very close and she wants that back. I used to be a drama queen and try to make a drama out of everything; I would ask people for their advice and what they would do to know how I should act. I would worry and worry about not taking the right decision, about what others would think about the way I acted and being very insecure about what I had to do.
Jeff taught me that there isn’t a right decision, but there is my decision that has to be right for me and will be right as long as it is for me. After reading this girlfriend’s email I realized that unconsciously I was asking myself, how do you feel about this? Is it a definite yes (do you want to be friends with her on Facebook?)? A definite no? Or do you need more information?
Regardless of what my decision is, it has been so life-changing for me to understand that it’s me and only me who can decide for me and that to stay true to who I am I have to do that: stay true to who I am, which implies acting in the way I want to act. Knowing that for many decisions there is no right or wrong, and that I have to decide for myself. And this is only one of the many many things I took from those courses."
"Jeff does not have a problem with being upfront and honest. Many times friends will sugar coat what they say to not hurt your feelings. This is not helpful because then we live in a false reality. No matter how difficult it may be to hear, and how uncomfortable some of the resulting situations may be, his honest and direct words are much more helpful than flowery words.
Sometimes following his advice means needing to have some really uncomfortable conversations and make some tough choices. I consistently found that doing so led though me to be in a better, more confident place in my life.
Using what he’s taught me has improved the quality of friendships in my life immeasurably. It has helped me connect with some truly amazing people – many who will be friends for life. It has given me the confidence I never had before I met him. I can’t count how many times I called him at odd hours or in the midst of something and he was always there, always making time. He has a ton to offer about the things that matter in life… I know he’ll be in my life in some way, forever."
“I met Jeff when I was 15, struggling in school, was socially shy and so unsure of myself… He quickly led me from being an insecure, directionless teen, to becoming a secure, confident young adult...
I’ve put myself through college, traveled the world, am professionally successful, living in New York City, have amazing relationships.. and I owe so much of it to what Jeff taught me about how to live life to make it be this way. There are so many things I know that my peers don’t, and situations I can easily handle that stress others out. I recommend him to anyone who knows there must be more and refuses to live a life without it.”
"Over time, I gradually began to speak his “language”, which develops around the importance of unique, authentic relationships and always maintaining a positive “possibilities” oriented mindset, regardless of how stressful things may get."
Before I met Jeff, I felt as if several parts of my life (confidence, work ethic, relationships) were missing something. I could talk to a girl, but I couldn’t tell her I liked her. I could get started on work, but often I would when I got bored. I could make friends, but they never really seemed to be people I truly wanted to call my friends.
My relationship in high school with Jeff was very important to me. When things weren’t going well (with friends, school, sports, etc), Jeff was someone I could always talk to. Most importantly, there was never an uncomfortable amount of pressure to speak with Jeff. Over time, I gradually began to speak his “language”, which develops around the importance of unique, authentic relationships and always maintaining a positive “possibilities” oriented mindset, regardless of how stressful things may get.
Now, as a sophomore playing the sport I love at the college of my dreams , I consistently apply advice from Jeff when dealing with my teachers, peers, friends, and more. I am forever grateful for the tools and mindset he has helped me acquire over the years, and he will always be a person of importance in my life.
"Since Meeting Jeff, I have become a much more "real" person; at 21, I am someone my 15-year-old self would look up to."
"He has helped me go from shy, insecure teen boy, to a life filled with amazing friends who love me and are loyal to me, and then into my first serious relationships."
"Having Jeff always just a phone call away may have been the difference between me waiting it out until I eventually grew to love my college and me dropping out or transferring."
My first semester at USC was a huge shock. The transition from being a big fish in a small (very laid back) pond to being a tiny fish in a massive (extremely fast paced) ocean was stressful to say the least. Having Jeff always just a phone call away may have been the difference between me waiting it out until I eventually grew to love my college and me dropping out or transferring.
The stress and sadness of moving away from home and starting an entire new world at college is SO under talked about. Jeff is a unique mentor because he has worked with so many other teens in the same position, so when I was struggling, he was able to reassure me that the issues I faced were completely normal. Knowing that other students were also having a hard time with the transition, and hearing from Jeff the different ways that they found their niches at school, helped me immensely in finding my path at USC.
From breakups, to bad dates, to deaths in the family, to career advice - Jeff has been there to help guide me. Now, as a senior in college about to start my life in the real world, I am truly grateful to know that I have Jeff as a resource going forward.
"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called Jeff with girl issues, tough decisions, or just general puzzlement about my existence as a human being."
I’m the kind of kid who everyone looked at on the surface and assumed must be fine… school has come relatively easy, I am outgoing, have had a loyal group of friends and a steady girlfriend who is beautiful and smart.
Beneath the surface though I have a lot more going on with questions about who am I, who do I feel insecure when here is nothing to be insecure about, how can I stay positive when it seems the world is filled with bad news, what do I want to do with my life, how do I stay on the right path when it is so easy to get distracted or succumb to temptation… . I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called Jeff with girl issues, tough decisions, or just general puzzlement about my existence as a human being. I still do call Jeff. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they are okay and the world isn’t exploding ... and the way Jeff does it works perfect for a person like me. He is real, intense, challenging, intelligent, funny and always available.
"I have gone from a deep dive into a dark place struggling with addictions and high risks, to now living a disciplined, healthy and positive life, doing work I love and finally really liking myself. "
With Jeff’s guidance I have gone from a string of bad - as in really unhealthy dysfunctional co-dependent relationships, to being in a healthy relationship with an amazing woman. I have gone from a deep dive into a dark place struggling with addictions and high risks, to now living a disciplined, healthy and positive life, doing work I love and finally really liking myself. I am so grateful to have Jeff as my mentor, my critic, my consultant and the voice of reason and hope.
"When I graduated college and landed my first PR gig in San Francisco a few weeks later, he was the second person I texted (after my Dad) to say, "I f*cking DID IT, I made it!" And two years later when I was weighing the decision to make a huge professional change I response?" You've got this." And I did, but it wouldn't have been possable without him."
I met Jeff in 2006 during my sophomore year of high school. I was angry, defiant, bullish and full of angst for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate to my friends at the time. My home life was tense, my father worked a lot and my mother was a high-functioning addict. Being a teenager in a well-to-do Marin suburb meant that things were always fine, but my life was a little different and I hadn’t found anyone who was ready to listen to me and understand what I was going through. Jeff’s office became a safe space where I could vent and scream and cry while he responded in his always-even tone, giving me strategies to take control of my own life despite what might be going on around me.
Jeff was (and is) someone who I respect. Lying to him - like I had been to my father - wasn’t an option because he would know, so I needed to keep myself accountable for the promises I was making. I went to class, I stopped drinking so much, I learned to put myself first and I found my voice again. I started writing, I cultivated a community of people who rallied around me when things got hard, I found my path - and I have Jeff to thank for making sure I stayed on course.
When I graduated college and landed my first PR gig in San Francisco a few weeks later, he was the second person I texted (after my dad) to say, “I f*cking DID IT, I made it!” And a two years later when I was weighing the decision to make a huge professional change I called him again. His response? “You’ve got this.” And I did, but it wouldn’t have been possible without him.
"Jeff walked the line of being deeply understanding and also deeply demanding of me to hold a higher standard for myself based on much deeper values..."
I was so insecure in high school that I wouldn’t give anyone a chance to be my friend if I feared that being associated with them would diminish my social standing... I grew up in a very affluent community with a lot of very petty people, but it was all I knew. Jeff walked the line of being deeply understanding and also deeply demanding of me to hold a higher standard for myself based on much deeper values… Because of Jeff’s words and influence I wound up making a Best Friend in someone who I rejected initially because he wasn’t cool enough… I found the courage to have a voice to advocate loudly on behalf some social issues that were being ignored in school, including writing a powerful editorial that went viral and changed the culture of our school… I put the skills and resources together to overcome my social anxiety… and became a confident adult. Jeff really gets the highly sensitive over-thinking adolescent and teaches them not only how to manage it, but to use these character traits to lead a pretty amazing life.
"To summarize Jeff’s personality, his knowledge, vision, and expertise is actually really tough. He's not at all like a therapist! I tend to call him my Guru/Mentor/Life Coach."
To summarize Jeff’s personality, his knowledge, vision, and expertise is actually really tough. He's not at all like a therapist! I tend to call him my Guru/Mentor/Life Coach. Whether you're going through a breakup, having a tough time in school (with a 3.9 or a 2.5 GPA), fighting with parents, whatever you're issues are, I promise you he can help. Jeff is amazingly knowledgeable about people's tendencies, emotional response and reaction, understanding motives, and very importantly...communicating. He is different than other people I've talked to like psychotherapists, because he does it his own way and never makes you feel like a patient. He is genuine, and you can feel it when you're talking to him face to face. He truly got me out of a dark place, and now I'm doing well and I'll be forever thankful to him for that. These days he helps me manage adult type things. but life is hectic and unpredictable and I always know I can go to Jeff with whatever may happen People go through life thinking they can handle everything, or just "make it work" and move on or forget about it. The thing is you aren't realizing what options are out there because you have never seen them. Jeff really helped me to see situations or altercations or decisions from afar and consider every aspect and the choices/consequences/after effects. He is a guru about life and people. Just listen to him.
"There was one thing Jeff said in one conversation – one sentence actually - that provided me with a moment of intense clarity that empowered me to move forward through the most difficult challenge I had ever faced in my life…"
That moment I made one of the toughest life decisions I had ever made. I know that I will look to that moment in my life as a turning point in which I took control of my future. I can confidently say today four years later that my college experience would not have turned out nearly as well as it has, had I not made that phone call to Jeff. . Introducing Jeff into my life is one of the greatest gifts my parents have given me.
"Beginning in Middle School, I struggled with anxiety, motivation and insecurity that stemmed from constantly comparing myself to others who seemed to be funnier, smarter, etc and having ADHD didn’t help. I met with many counselors, therapists and specialists but I found them to be subpar and ineffective. It was discouraging. My parents bringing Jeff into my life in high school, was a game changer. "
With him, there are no weekly “talk about how you feel” sessions that go nowhere... nor do I have to wait a week to speak with him when things come up. Jeff is effective because he teaches what works. He knows what to say and how to say it to get me to think different, act different and be different... and he’s always just a quick text message away when things come up that I need support with in that moment. He has built my confidence, helped me be more positive and much more mature. The best part was that he remained just as available and in my life when I moved to the east coast as he was when I lived a few miles from his office in California.
"Jeff gave me hope that I could be the person I wanted to be, and in the end he helped me become someone I’m proud of. I went from insecure and struggling to connect, to making an amazing group of truly positive interesting and lively friends, and had a 2 year relationship with my first serious girlfriend."
It’s not often that you get the privilege of knowing someone like I have known Jeff Leiken. Jeff came into my life at the perfect time. I was entering High School and while I was a very good student and an accomplished athlete, I was struggling to make quality friends and felt like I no idea what to do about it. There were so many nights where I played back situations in my head where I could have done things differently than I did, and I always wished that I could go back and do things differently.
When I started going to see Jeff, I was hesitant at first.. Letting someone you just met your deepest secrets and insecurities isn’t the easiest thing in the world. However, as time went on and I came to trust him more and feel safer, I started opening up more and more. Before I knew it I was completely comfortable sharing all sorts of things and thoughts with him… especially things that I just wasn’t sharing with friends or even with my parents who I am very close to.
Week after week I came in there with different scenarios, questions I needed answered so that I knew how to better navigate a social world I previously knew so little about. He gave me amazing advice, taught me invaluable lessons and often did it with this sense of humor that always made even the worst situations seem like they weren’t so bad.
It’s no understatement to say that Jeff pushed me to become a better and more well rounded person. I have different quotes and stories from the countless times we met that I could tell... one of them is written on the wall above my bed and is the first thing I see every morning. Each one taught me lessons to take into the world. I always knew that no matter how hard things got I could work through it with him, no matter how much I wanted to give up.
Jeff gave me hope that I could be the person I wanted to be, and in the end he helped me become someone I’m proud of. I went from insecure and struggling to connect, to making an amazing group of truly positive interesting and lively friends, and had a 2 year relationship with my first serious girlfriend.
There is no amount of thanks that I can give to Jeff that will do justice how much of an impact he has had on my life. I credit so much of what I know about human nature and how we connect to one another to him. What he has taught me will create the foundation for so many relationships in my life for years to come, whether those be romantic relationships or friendships.
I’ve known Jeff for over five years and he has become like part of my family. There’s still days where I can text him or call him at college and still know that he will be there for me and give it to me straight. I always know that he will be honest and not sugar coat anything, which is something I really appreciate. He will be a part of my life forever and I will never forget all of the conversations we had.
If you ever have the opportunity to work with or meet this man, trust me you will never regret it cause there’s no one else like him out there.
"Words cannot describe what happened to me after the one conversation you had with me Jeff. I truly feel as though I have experienced something totally beyond words. The work you did with me is something I will one day tell my grandchildren about. I feel as though what I felt was a crossroad in my life, now I have made the choice to move in a direction. Where I go from here is not something I question, I truly believe that everything is right again."
Jeff you listened to me and made me feel good about life again. I am forever in your debt. Your work is incredibly important and I will never forget you. If you ever feel a need to tell our story, please do. If anyone can take something from my experience, it would be my privilege. Last night I posed a question: If you can do what you did with me in just one conversation, then what could you do if so many more people had the chance to experience your work?” Just thinking about it inspires me.(Zack was a classic case of “Can I talk to you for a minute?” after a training I ran at his summer camp. His letter has hung above my desk for years.)
"There are people who touch our lives at certain points on our life’s journey and we are forever changed and forever grateful for having met them and for the growth they have helped us to achieve. Jeff is one of those people....
Jeff helped our family navigate some difficult challenges my husband and I were having with questionable choices our teenage son was making and the challenges that, candidly, our son was having with our parenting style. Countless times, Jeff did an incredible job of serving as an unbiased, outside voice of reason for everyone involved, which allowed us all to see our behavior and choices through a different lens. He was able to help my husband and I recognize what was “typical teenage behavior” versus choices worthy of intervention and was also instrumental in helping us modify our parenting style to bring out the best in our child, which was our ultimately goal. Most importantly, though, Jeff served as an invaluable mentor and coach in guiding our son to think more logically about the short- and long-term consequences of his personal choices so that he could begin leading a more intentional, value-driven and value-aligned life and to also communicate his choices, desires and needs more effectively and maturely with important individuals in his life. Jeff did this all with 100% commitment, 100% accessibility, and a great sense of humor, which we deeply appreciated. We will forever view Jeff’s involvement with our family as a blessing and gift.
"Every child has those moments where a word or two will make all the difference in what happens next, sometimes the effect may linger for an hour and at others it may be a lifetime. I implicitly trust Jeff to know what to say and how to say it when Michaela needs that extra voice of wisdom, and knowing she’s always had Jeff to turn to has saved me many sleepless nights."
Jeffrey has been a part of my “team” raising my daughter Michaela since her mom passed in 2012, when she was just twelve years old herself, and he’s like a Secret Service agent assigned to be on call 24/7 should anything arise. Most times Jeff remains virtually invisible until my daughter needs something, then almost as if he intuits it he will reach out and become available when she’s most needs to speak with someone other than me. Of course he’ll always pick up a phone or respond to a text as well when she reaches out to him, but either way the support has been both essential and invaluable when she’s needed him to be there.
I often think of Jeff as my secret weapon in helping to raise my daughter successfully as a single parent. Most times it’s reinforcement of a discussion I’ve already had with her that cements it in for her, other times it’s something that he’ll drop in that will connect for her and make sense in a way what I’ve offered didn’t, and there are those times where she just can’t speak to me as freely as she will with Jeff and this moments have made all the difference for her, I know.
Every child has those moments where a word or two will make all the difference in what happens next, sometimes the effect may linger for an hour and at others it may be a lifetime. I implicitly trust Jeff to know what to say and how to say it when Michaela needs that extra voice of wisdom, and knowing she’s always had Jeff to turn to has saved me many sleepless nights.
"She was experiencing all of the usual pressures and “friend anxieties” a 23 year old faces and we were concerned that she finish her education. Jeff immediately won her over and within a few short months we noticed a remarkable improvement in her confidence and outlook. "
Our son had run the gamut – Aderol, Zoloft, psychiatrists, tutors, drug counselors, treatment programs, you name it, he’s done it. None of that had been effective changing his attitude or behaviors. Jeff doesn’t cut him any slack, he doesn’t make excuses for him, he just gives him – and us – straight talk, and hold him accountable. Our son is now fully on the road to becoming a responsible adult now and for that, I thank the one adult in his life he actually listens to – Jeff Leiken
"Our son had run the gamut – Aderol, Zoloft, psychiatrists, tutors, drug counselors, treatment programs, you name it, he’s done it. None of that had been effective changing his attitude or behaviors. The only person who ever got through to him and made the difference, was Jeff… We trust him. Our son trusts him, and most importantly, our son listens to him."
My daughter, Irina, began working with Jeff at the beginning of her senior year in college (2015). She was experiencing all of the usual pressures and “friend anxieties” a 23 year old faces and we were concerned that she finish her education. Jeff immediately won her over and within a few short months we noticed a remarkable improvement in her confidence and outlook. Later that year, I traveled to the city (NYC) to take her our to supper during her mid-terms. I asked, in a detached way, “So how is this guy Jeff?” Irina answered, “He’s great dad.” “Why”, I asked. She answered, “…because he’s not you dad.” This was the precisely best answer and reason I asked for Jeff’s help in the first place.
I couldn’t recommend Jeff too strongly. Jeff is right when he says that parents often do and say the right thing to their teenagers or college kids but often we are the “wrong source.” Jeff’s integrity, morality and experience are a sure thing for any teen who is more thoughtful, more feeling and seeking.
"Jeff is an exceptionally gifted advisor. He’s proactive, responsive, engaged, and truly cares about the young adults he mentors and about helping to build a better world. I highly recommend him to any parent—but especially those who have smart, sensitive kids grappling with growing up in a complex world."
My son approached me at age 17 about meeting with Jeff at a time when he was struggling with several issues at once. We agreed he’d benefit more from adult guidance and support than from psychotherapy, as his challenges stemmed from trying to find his place in the world and among his peers. Jeff was already successfully mentoring a couple of his friends, so that helped me and his mother feel confident in Jeff's extraordinary talents.
The results were evident in just a few weeks: greater self-awareness and self-assurance, and a general sense that he was more at ease at school, at home, and among his friends and classmates. He started studying at the library, brought his grades up and for the first time, became serious about going to college. He began working our regularly, changed some of his friend group and even asked a girl to prom… things he never seemed like he’d do before he started working with Jeff.
Jeff is an exceptionally gifted advisor. He’s proactive, responsive, engaged, and truly cares about the young adults he mentors and about helping to build a better world. I highly recommend him to any parent—but especially those who have smart, sensitive kids grappling with growing up in a complex world.
"Our 20 year old son was a tough case for Jeff because he was skeptical to try anything new, after years of conventional talk therapy had not made a difference."
Our 20 year old son was a tough case for Jeff because he was skeptical to try anything new, after years of conventional talk therapy had not made a difference. He had left college and moved home and was really stagnating…. It was a bumpy ride but having Jeff on board helped us feel as though someone could reach him, mentor him and was a sounding board for us. Jeff worked with our son for a little less than a year, they spoke weekly and Jeff met with us periodically and our son monthly in NYC. With Jeff;s influence, our son is now back in a school attending a university he really likes, got a great summer internship and is thinking positively about his future. He asked Jeff to provide one of his recommendations for his summer job and knows that he is there for him if he needs him. The best part of working with Jeff was partnering with an objective, experienced person who also wanted the best for our son and who our son would listen to
"Our daughter has been transformed from a teenager who was struggling to barely get by, to a thriving and balanced young adult with ambitious goals and the discipline to achieve them. Jeff was able to offer her what no therapist or traditional specialist was able to do for her at a time when we all were desperate. We can’t recommend his services highly enough!"
"We ran the gamut of therapists and experts trying to help our son. The only person who ever got through to him and made the difference, was Jeff… We trust him. Our son trusts him, and most importantly, our son listens to him"
"Thank you for saving our son’s life. The young man he is now on track to becoming is beyond anything we’d thought possible when we hired you after everything else had failed… The work you did with him in just a few months was nothing short of miraculous."