Interview Spotlight With Lee-ann Cordingley

Lee-ann Cordingley is a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist as well as an experienced yoga teacher of adults and pre- and post-natal women and children. She is a Women’s Circle creator and host and has made it her mission to help others discover their true potential in the realm of holistic wellness and the fun that so many of us don’t prioritise

As a mother of two boys, wife and dog Mumma, Lee-ann understands the importance of nurturing and balancing various aspects of life. Drawing from her personal experiences, she has honed her expertise in advocating for women’s empowerment, pleasure and joy. Through her work, she seeks to shatter societal taboos and create a safe space for individuals to explore their desires, fostering a greater understanding of healthy sex and relationships.

Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?

At almost 47, I’m still starting sentences with ‘when I grow up…’.  I’m a gal with a massive heart and “smiling’s my favourite”. I really care about not just the people I know but about communities and this wonderful world we get to live in. I pride myself on being able to see the positive or at least a lesson in everything and I really am not the person to engage in gossip with – I’ve absolutely no time for nastiness or unkindness – be kind always!

If you’re familiar with Insights Discovery, my two main personality colours are in almost equal measure earthy green and sunshine yellow which says it all about me really. I am very values-driven, I care deeply about people and their feelings and I’m great at relationship building and being creative with ideas and fun. I gently tip the scales as an introvert; when my social battery runs low from too much people’ing I love nothing better than to plug in and recharge quietly at home in Nottingham. Running is my headspace, and you can often find me rolling out my yoga mat on the bank of the River Trent or meditating, reading or journaling. When my battery is fully charged, you’ll find that I love going out dancing until the small hours of the morning. I can’t imagine when I’ll be ready to hang up my heels and lipgloss.

Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?

Up until my mid-twenties I was a Corporate Banking Manager in the City of London and before anyone even considered ordering food online, I co-founded the immensely successful takeaway food ordering service, with my husband. Our innovative approach revolutionised the industry, and our company was later sold to Just-eat. Having launched FMB days after getting married and with a small baby (and later another baby), it was a busy time. The venture was entirely self-funded and in the early days, we really learned the true value of hard work and of money and I will never take our success for granted.

Selling the business afforded me the time to really enjoy being a Mum and also the opportunity for learning. I’m a study junkie, and my first foray was with my passion of anatomy & physiology, and then my yoga teacher training. And then another yoga teacher training. Alright then, another FEW yoga courses. I created my yoga business using various venues in the community and at that point, I was one of the first in Nottingham to offer online presence with a successful blog and the functionality to book and pay for classes online.

Fast forward a number of years, my marriage took an unpleasant turn and we separated for two years, which was a devastating and painful time for all of us. But during this time, I leaned into my vulnerability and drew strength from my yoga community. I found premises which I completely renovated myself – knocking down partition walls, stripping hideous wallpaper, laying carpet tiles – I really became good friends with the team at the local tip with my gazillion tip-runs in my Mini!

My studio became a hub of wellbeing activity for the local community and a venue for other wellbeing professionals to use. I created and hosted a really successful Women’s Circle providing a nurturing environment for women to connect, share, and uplift one another. This empowering initiative allowed us to explore challenging discussion topics, learn from each other and address societal taboos. All involved enjoyed fostering new, deep connections and improved self-worth.

Our beloved family home was weeks from being sold and the studio was going from strength to strength when the pandemic struck and it was towards the end of the lockdown my husband and I came back together again. We recognise it’s a new marriage to the one we had before. Everyone had a different experience of the pandemic – had it not happened, our family home would have been sold and we would never have repaired our family unit.

Yoga and wellbeing was my entry to the official world of sexology. Although not a Tantra teacher, I became fascinated with feminine and masculine energies and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. Eventually I enrolled to study with the pioneer of sex coaching herself, Dr Patti Britton, and I completed that period of my studies in November 2022. Because I wholeheartedly believe that credentials are key and, you know, do no harm.

From the thousands of yoga students I have taught, I know how unhelpful thoughts or issues like anxiety or depression can affect people. I suffered with post-natal depression myself in 2004, which was the whole reason I began running- I know how low mood can affect you physically. With my knowledge of stress and nervous system responses, I know that pleasure hormones have almost the exact opposite effect on the brain – but it’s hard to have pleasure when you’re feeling rubbish. It’s a vicious cycle!

So for me, there really is no separation of yoga and sex and this has set me on a journey of encouraging fun and pleasure for people to live a vibrant life.

Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?

It was always part of my business plan to offer an online yoga studio to complement my in-person classes and the lockdown afforded me the time to create it. I was able to pivot my business REALLY quickly and offer online yoga classes within days and I had loads of other yoga teachers contacting me to ask me how I had managed it so quickly and asking for my help. My month Women’s Circle continued online and all report that it helped them through some very difficult and dark times.

All of the business skills I have learned from the corporate world, as a business founder, yoga teacher and even as a wife, mother and single parent have informed the way that I work now. Currently, peri-menopause is my most recent teacher. My studies of sexology were hugely intense and rewarding and I love that I am able to offer my clients a range of differing perspectives as well as differing media or platforms because I offer both online coaching, in-person individual and group sessions and also online masterclasses in my membership platform. I really appreciate the method of co-active coaching relationships.

Have you ever had a mentor? If so, how has this benefited you, either personally or professionally?

I have learned from so many great women, one of whom used to be a member of my Women’s Circle. She is a great coach and leader, she listens so very intently and openly and challenges concepts or ideas in our conversations. She’s an incredible woman and the most affectionate cheerleader. She inspires me.

What outlets do use for marketing?

I love people and I love writing so social media is my marketing method of choice. But with the nature of my business, I tread a thin line every time I post about my work as a sex coach. It’s counter-intuitive to be telling people not to be ashamed of their desires or pleasure outlets whilst censoring my words, so I really enjoy regularly emailing my clients and updating my blog about sex.

There’s a vibrant networking community in Nottingham and I love building and nurturing the relationships, increasing the visibility around my field and letting people know that it’s ok to talk about sex! Which they do. People are sometimes surprised by the ease with which they talk to me. A memorable and funny moment was washing my hands and chatting with an author I had met just that morning. She stopped and exclaimed “I can’t believe I’ve just told you that! It’s like you’re a walking confessional!”

What or Who has inspired you most recently?

I started running in 2006 when along with starting a business, getting married, having a baby and having moved 200 miles away from my hometown – loneliness and post-natal depression hit hard. Accompanying me was Pink in my earphones and she’s been with me ever since – getting me through some really difficult times. I’ve seen almost all of her UK performances and both her music and her message never fails to inspire and motivate me. I find her to be an amazing role model for equality, sexuality and inclusivity. I most recently saw her perform at Hyde Park in London in Jun23 and I cannot tell you how full of joy and happiness I felt dancing with thousands of others under the hot sunshine. Her vibe lifts me up!

What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?

Done is better than perfect. I’ve been known to spend hours on a project that really hasn’t needed to be tweaked to within an inch of its life!

Being playful in my work has always been important to me and I was grateful of yoga students’ feedback about how much they enjoyed the fun and silly classes. Being my authentic self is my unique selling point.

Also, asking for help is not a failure. I’ve always joked that I can stand on my head or talk comfortably about blow jobs but I can’t always make my website do what I want it to! Luckily, my husband and eldest son are techie wizards and they support me when I need it.

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?

In the past, I have had tendency to care too deeply and to carry other people’s problems. Parenting has taught me that if I try to take away discomfort from my children, I rob them of valuable opportunities for growth through their own challenges. I adopt that approach with clients as well.

Being disciplined with self care is another crucial element.  As with most business founders, when I’m in a flow, it can be easy to just work and work for hours on end, so I remember those times on a weekday when the sun is shining or I’ve run out of steam and I give myself a break. Flexible working is one of the benefits of flexible working.

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

It is really important for me to know that I am in service, adding value and that people’s lives and their family’s lives are benefiting from my energy. Sex is a really important aspect of being human – we don’t just have sex for procreation – and it’s an area that a lot of people struggle to discuss or ask for help with. I love how a person’s very countenance can visibly change even after just one conversation with me – whether they’re a client or not. People tell me I have a unique energy that lifts people up and that makes me really, really happy.

Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?

Lea Turner is a LinkedIn trainer and has grown an amazing community of people. She’s a really nice person and despite her massive platform, she’s really humble, honest and kind. I learn from Lea all the time.

How do you define your own success?

Being successful to me ultimately means I feel I am making a difference in the world. As just one marker of success, I believe in exchange of energies and in the energy of money, so knowing that I am receiving and giving money from a really high-vibe and well-intentioned place is really important to me.

Finally, what can we expect from you next?

I am very relatable and can speak very comfortably with a wide range of people – and in a wide range of vernacular, often with slang or expletives if that’s what I read from clients. I have a long list of things I want to do with my work, and in my eyes a valuable element is education or re-education, so my current project is creating a community with masterclasses and in-person events, retreats and workshops. I regularly go into schools to talk to young adults about healthy sex and relationships which I think is key to making lasting difference for younger generations. I also am manifesting more key note speaker opportunities so that I can reach a wider audience with my messaging about unlocking your bedroom superpowers to empower your life with pleasure and fun.

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