“CarmenLeah has an amazing ability to connect with individuals on a professional and personal level to bring out the very best in them.  She carefully strikes a balance between meeting the goals and objectives of a project while also caring for the well-being of all those involved.  She uses creative ways to build trust among teams by ensuring all voices are heard and empowering others to lead.  Through working with her as apart of an inter-agency collaboration addressing partner abuse in LGBTQ communities of color, I have seen her successfully train others on trauma informed care and how to support youth of color.  I have also seen her thrive in challenging environments where she was forced to tackle power dynamics within larger institutions with the purpose of bringing new resources and information to underserved communities. She is a well organized and focused leader who is strongly connected to the experiences and voices of the communities she seeks to serve.”

  • Corey Yarbrough, Executive Director, Hispanic Black Gay Coalition.


“One of my favorite things to do is watch good trainers, and it was an absolute pleasure to learn from CarmenLeah – not just the content of her presentation on secondary trauma but also to be able to observe her training style.  She is one of the most engaging trainers I have seen in a very long time.  She broke down the complex medical processes that compose the physiology of trauma into easy-to-understand concepts. Her mix of visual and verbal techniques made her accessible to people with different learning styles.  So many presenters with as much knowledge and experience as CarmenLeah have an air of superiority.  But CarmenLeah was down to earth, and felt like a part of the group which in turn made it possible for us to take in the content in a very deep way.  I highly recommend CarmenLeah as a trainer/presenter.”

  • Beth Leventhal, Executive Director, The Network/La Red

“Working with and learning from CarmenLeah is a true joy. She asks us to think about what makes us come alive. She reminds us to be unapologetic about caring for ourselves while we care for others and help heal the world. She is a mentor, a friend, an artist, a visionary, a warrior and a strategist. It’s rare that so many skills are embodied in one individual. Thank you CarmenLeah for all you do!”

  • Francesca Contreras, Community Advocate & TOD@S Collaborative Coordinator, Renewal House Domestic Violence Shelter


“CarmenLeah Ascencio is a delight to work alongside. She is brilliant, open, dedicated and passionate about working within communities who are serving Latinos/as and LGBQ/T individuals – and supporting those of us who are seeking to work with and within communities as allies. In Boston, CarmenLeah and I met to first discuss the intersections of faith and spirituality in working with survivors of abuse. Her insight, energy and enthusiasm for making these connections was inspiring to me, particularly as she, herself, was on her own journey of discernment around spiritual practice that was true for her. Later, CarmenLeah and I worked collaboratively on a few projects and throughout that process, I admired her intuitive approach and the ways she uses humor to help difficult conversations happen – but most importantly, to move the work forward. CarmenLeah is REAL and is unafraid to stand up for what is right and just for survivors. She exudes competence and refuses to lose the heart of this work for her which is family, community and peer support.”

  • Rev. Susan Chorley, Senior Program Director, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry

“I was fortunate enough to work with CarmenLeah at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services in NYC. CarmenLeah was such a solid member of our team.  She brought integrity, inner strength and passion to our work in standing side by side with girls and young women who experienced commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.  Her positive energy and smarts were contagious and her knowledge base on the impact of oppression of girls and women and LGBQT community, trauma-informed care, self-love, yoga, and embracing the whole person really stand out for me.  CarmenLeah was a “go-to” person here at GEMS – she was open, communicative and compassionate with our members and staff alike and shared her deep wisdom with all who met her.”

  • Julie Laurence, Chief Program Officer, GEMS


“CarmenLeah is a natural facilitator who is thoughtful and planned, while also being able to scan group in order to make on-the-spot adjustments to best fit the groups needs in the moment. She makes moving from theory to practice look easy; she is able to bring difficult concepts to life and help people have an experiential understanding through creative and innovative activities and workshops.  At her core, CarmenLeah embodies trauma informed practice as a way of being in relationship with others. She is able to stay grounded and present during hard conversations; she meets people where they are, having deep and meaningful exchanges on many levels. CarmenLeah infuses art and beauty into the work she does in an authentic and inspiring way. She is intrepid, creative, and keeps it real.”

  • Greta Spoering, LCSW, Survivor Advocate, Emerson College Violence Prevention and Response Program

“As colleague, CarmenLeah has been an effective advocate and therapist for the wellbeing and empowerment of marginalized and underrepresented communities and professionals that serve them. In particular, working with queer urban youth of color and adult populations that are affected by violence and abuse as well as sex trafficking. Working from a trauma informed perspective, her approach is holistic, professional, dynamic, and conscientious. As presenter and educator, she is a visionary, inspirational, dynamic, compassionate, thoughtful and brilliantly provocative – inviting dialogue both in English and Spanish to the examination of social stigmas for a greater understanding of its effects.  She is down to earth and approachable.”

  • Amanda Escamilla, Chef and Owner of Tex Mex Eats & former Community Advocate, Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health

“When it come to understanding trauma, compassion fatigue, issues of non-profits, struggles of marginalized communities, and passion for causes CarmenLeah has insight.  She is a woman who has struggled and has witnessed others struggle both personally and professionally. She recognizes that we all need certain things to do the work we love on many levels – personal, professional, community and agency levels. She is a thoughtful and observant person, who can provide an outside perspective that is both empathetic and understanding…simply put, ‘She gets it.’”

  • Sharon Imperato, LMHC, Manager of Clinical Services, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center


“Working outside with CarmenLeah has helped me feel safe vocalizing things I never thought I’d be able to address.  I have felt immensely supported by her and the earth to finally put down the emotional weights I’ve spent years thinking I had to carry alone.  Incorporating nature and movement into talk therapy has made it easier for me to be honest and open about my experiences.  Finding a therapist from a similar background as mine was a breath of fresh air, and helped me feel instantly comfortable.” – Ecotherapy client

“I don’t think I can truly describe the impact of CarmenLeah’s coaching. Suffice it to say it did change my life. Put me on the path to good mental and physical health. Opened up my mind to infinite possibilities. Made me realize for real that I am worthy of the same goodness I try to give. And on and on and on. High Impact. Positive Impact.” – Coaching client

“CarmenLeah’s coaching had a tremendous impact on me. I did not feel the heaviness of depression during our work and also was able to deal with a lot of disappointment with clarity and balance. This has had a huge impact on my job and personal life. With my job I’m taking a lot more bolder risks and implementing more creativity and assurance. I’ve been able to really hear God/myself and now know practices I can do to calm my space so I can make good healthy decisions.” – Coaching client

“I feel freer than I did before.” – Coaching client

“One of my goals [for coaching] was redeveloping resilience, and I feel like I was able to tap into and renew my energy, and to recognize how taking accountability for my choices and happiness makes it easier to feel and stay grounded. Naming my values and my fears, as well as accepting them as part of my wholeness, has had a huge impact on how I react moment to moment and cope with stress. Especially [after being exposed to old triggers again], it’s super apparent how my perspective has changed, and I can feel the difference in my body, and in my ability to recognize when I need to take a moment to breathe. I literally feel more free.” – Coaching client

“CarmenLeah, my coach, inspired and guided me into a mirror where I had to face the difficult questions and enjoy my beautiful parts no matter how much I wanted to hate. I am challenging myself to grow everyday and to focus on acceptance, and I owe it to [coaching]. I am confronting my flaws as reason to exist and to live, and not reasons to give up. I am working towards channeling my future self… and all her beauty. I try to recognize more, and don’t pretend to be cured. I search for why and try to make the changes I can. I share my truth to further my acceptance, because when I share my story I often realize I am not alone.” – Coaching client

“[CarmenLeah’s] coaching is a transformative experience. I felt supported, challenged, and held accountable in the difficult process of healing and being my best self. I cannot thank [CarmenLeah] enough for the care (cuidado, cariño) [she] offers to the people [she] works with. I highly recommend [CarmenLeah’s] coaching –I tell everyone about it.” – Coaching client


“In CarmenLeah’s yoga nidra session it was able to connect with my body and everything around me. I found a place in myself where I feel safe. It was amazing.”

  • Program Participant


“CarmenLeah’s yoga nidra sessions showed me that I can connect with my body and environment in a way I didn’t think was possible. I had never done yoga before the program, and this experience was truly relaxing, re-energizing and a perfect way to settle with the things we were learning and sharing.”

  • Program Participant