Legacy Retreat


The Business Times 29 June 2012

Sunday Times"Transitioning" is how former banker Crystal Lim Leahy describes it. She recently launched a new venture that helps high-flyers take stock of their lives, after having gone through her own transition period two years ago.

A personal experience

Ms Leahy, 33, was on the brink of divorce when she and her banker husband decided to give their marriage another chance, get themselves "straightened out", and retired to the countryside in Australia.

"He was travelling a lot, and I was fed up," recalls Ms Leahy. The couple have three children. Between them, they have worked at a number of top banks with names such as UBS, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia dotting their CVs.

They enrolled in a counselling retreat run by the Hoffman Institute Australia, which offers an intensive personal development and discovery course. From there, the couple decided to pack up and and move to a 10-acre farm in Australia's Mornington Peninsula. "It was really rural . . . we went from two maids and a chauffeur in Singapore to growing grapes and vegetables, cooking and cleaning by ourselves!" Ms Leahy laughs.

It was hard work but it was a very healing time for the family, she says. That's when they learnt that there was more to life than making money and slogging. "Although we were moving up financially over the years, our levels of happiness didn't keep track. We didn't feel richer, or that we ever had 'enough', merely as if we were always attaining higher levels of relative poverty and anxiety."

But after two years of rural living, the Leahys decided that at 44 and 33 years of age, they were too young to "retire". "Personally,for me, I wanted to do something more meaningful than retiring in the countryside," says Ms Leahy.

So feeling sufficiently "balanced", they returned to Singapore. Mr Leahy went back to banking, and Ms Leahy came up with the idea of the Legacy Process, targeted at senior executives. "What the Legacy Process tries to do is help senior executives make transitions in their lives. It's a holistic retreat to deal with these issues. I have a lot of friends who want to change jobs or quit, or discover a more sustainable way of living, but they are afraid to quit, or aren't quite sure how to go about it."

Especially now, with the banking industry undergoing an upheaval, some have lost their jobs, or are jaded and burnt out.

The aim at Legacy is very practical: to help people transition. There are wellness retreats and financial boot camps, but this is a blend of both. "Those don't really prepare you for crises. The Legacy Process is about helping people achieve clarity and there's a huge emphasis on work-life balance," Ms Leahy stresses.

She's received a lot of interest from banker friends, especially for a talk in July she's holding. Her target clients range from their late 30s all the way to their early 60s, with a majority of them expatriates, and 30 to 40 per cent Asian.