Leslie Holmes

Leslie Holmes came to SkillsUSA’s 2015 national conference as a student competitor. The next year, she was back — but as an advisor.

Holmes calls it “coming full circle.” A self-described late bloomer, she started college nine years after high school. Soon after graduating with honors in business office administration, she went back to Northshore Technical Community College in Bogalusa, La., to work in student affairs and serve as the SkillsUSA liaison for various programs.

In 2015, she’d won gold in the national Customer Service contest. Bringing home a medal helped her revive state support for SkillsUSA, she says.

“I talked to different state representatives, and they saw how much of an important part that SkillsUSA played in growing and furthering education and encouraging students to move forward and to be great.”

In 2016, when the college needed a coach for the next year’s competitor, Holmes was happy to “come back on the opposite side of it,” she says.

“We went to Shreveport, and we competed, and he won” — earning her a return ticket to nationals, where Holmes was pleased to see the student have “that glow in his eyes, for this to be his first time.”

Now in the Baton Rouge office of the Louisiana Technical College System, she’s staying involved in the regional competition.