Crystal Leto pictured on a windy day.

About Me

Why I chose the name Turquoise Llama Communications

I’ve loved turquoise (the stone) for as long as I remember, I fell in love with llamas when my daughters were little, and I enjoy providing a little TLC to others’ communications efforts. So – Turquoise Llama Communications (little TLC by Leto) it was.

Professional Me

Just the branch:

A Marketing Communications Nut, I LOVE the process – meeting a client, listening to their story, helping them sort through and find the nuggets of gold that make them unique and assisting them on their journey to promote and build their business.

I earned my B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Simpson College and I’ve been in the communications field for 13 years. I have a soft spot for individuals, small-business, non-profits and community outreach groups.

All the leaves:

I love words. I’m a book worm and read various dictionaries for pleasure. Enough said.

I’ve been a storyteller all my life. I wrote what could have been a creative review on Google or Yelp of a fast-food franchise titled “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Eat Cold French Fries” at age 6 or 7.

I’ve always been an excellent listener too. I enjoy learning what makes others tick. My Mom called me a sponge and warned her friends when they visited to watch out – that I’d soak up every word they said, likely go back to my room, write it all down and turn it into a story. Which I did. Sorry Mumsey.

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Mumsey and I on Mother’s Day, 2017

I work hard and have fun doing it. I put everything I have – skills, knowledge, experience, education, passion – into the task at hand. That’s all due to my Pop, who led by example. He instilled a strong work ethic. He taught me that whatever job is in front of me to do – give it my all, do it right and do it with a smile – even if no one is watching or seems to appreciate it.

I worked as a waitress for years when our kids were young and, looking back, I suppose the above qualities are part of what made me such a successful waitress! I worked hard, smiled, listened and treated the people I served as the individuals they were. Returning customers (friends at the table) often waited at the door until one of my booths opened up.

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My Pop and I, 2005

My first real job in communications was working for a statewide, grassroots gubernatorial campaign. I learned so much from so many talented people – from the design team to the website developer to the media liaison – we were a hardworking crew who worked together and learned from one another for the common good of the campaign.

After the campaign – I freelanced as a communications consultant. I helped candidates develop their messages, write their speeches and become more comfortable with their presentations by practicing the delivery with me. The in-person sessions were especially rewarding as I watched each become more aware of body language and the importance of simplicity over gobbledygook.

In 2007, I began working exclusively for a state-wide non-profit as an independent communications consultant. In 2008, I became an employee wearing multiple hats – one of which was marketing communications – and continued in that role until 2015.

In 2015, I began working for a small but mighty local general contractor. My favorite part of the job was getting out into the field and listening to the tradespeople tell their stories, then returning to the office to write it all down. Raising awareness of the trades in the construction industry and promoting the skilled craftspeople in the field was one of the highlights in my career.

I recently took the leap and returned to the world of working for myself (working for YOU). It was a difficult decision – I really enjoyed my time with the general contractor and learned SO MUCH about the industry from the office and field teams – but it was the right decision.

Personal Me

Just the branch:

Aside from all of the above, I write for pleasure, read everything I can get my hands on, love nature (with a special love for trees), love hiking (oh the places we’ve been) and I’ve shared the (sometimes rocky, sometimes bumpy, sometimes twisting, sometimes smooth, sometimes straight) road of life with same guy for 27 years. I’m Mama Llama to our three adult girl humans and Llam Llam to our small grand-boy human.

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The Leto Crew at the Leto Family Homestead

All the leaves:

I LOVE trees. My best friend growing up was Sam the Tree who lived in our backyard. I spent countless hours in his branches dreaming, reading, writing and talking with him.

At 14, as a freshman in high school, my guidance counselor went through the routine college preparation steps with me including browsing brochures from Iowa colleges. That’s when I first fell in love with Simpson College. There was much more about Simpson I loved, but it was their logo – maple leaves – that caught my attention (because – trees). I was settled on Simpson.

Life took a detour and I dropped out of high school at 15, earned my GED at 17 and enrolled in DMACC. Life took another detour and I married at 18. Three amazing girl humans later – I returned to college in 2005 eventually earning my B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Simpson.

It was during college that my kids started calling me Llama.

Working, going to school full-time and, together with my other half, caring for our family meant college coursework was completed with three little humans playing at my feet.

When I really needed to focus – I’d tell the girls “Your Mama’s a Llama”. It was their cue that unless it was an emergency – it needed to wait. The name stuck. I’ve been Llama or Mama Llama ever since and now – with the addition of our grandson – I’m Llam Llam.

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My grand-boy human and I.

Being nature lovers, it’s been our dream to purchase our own little slice of heaven for years. In September, 2017 we bought our piece of peace in Monroe, IA and in January, 2018 we moved our family to the new place we affectionately dubbed The Leto Family Homestead. Born and raised in the city, we had no idea what we were doing.

We rode out the Iowa winter in a cabin (a shed we turned into a cabin), started building our new dream pole building (I created the floor plan!) – part motorhome garage, part home – in March, started our garden in May (we planted way more than we need – works out well for family and friends!) and now we’re in the process of moving into our new home and turning our cabin into our home office/creative cabin/guest house.

It’s been quite an adventure, we’ve learned a lot (with help from our farming neighbors) and we continue to learn as we go!

There’s much more I could tell you about me, but I’ll end with my love for hiking.

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My other half captured the moment we made it to the Subway in Utah!

 

On our first date, my other half took me on a hike. The rest is history. We’re campers and hikers on a mission to visit as many National Parks as possible and take in all these national treasures offer. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as a sometimes strenuous, sometimes relaxed and always awe-inspiring hike (leave no trace) in one of Mother Nature’s magnificent creations. The breathtaking views and standing in the clouds are bonuses. We’ve had so many adventures together and don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon (never).

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This is Us. Freezing, wet, sore but having the time of our lives on one of our many adventures.

That’s a little (okay, a lot) about me.

What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.