MONICA E. LENCHES - Biography
Everything that has happened in Monica's life has led her to this
point. Born in Los Angeles, California to immigrant parents from
Hungary, from an early age, Monica questioned the purpose and
value of her life. During her formative years she competed in
gymnastics, which contributed to her drive for excellence and
teamwork. She received her BA in Politics with an emphasis in
International Relations from UCSB with honors, and by the age
of 21, was a licensed real estate agent. Within seven years, she
was a top-producer at Coldwell Banker. Her creativity, dedication
and success as a Preview's Estates Specialist caught the attention
of the executives at Coldwell Banker. As a result, she was chosen
out of 90,000 agents nationwide to present the Previews Luxury
Estate Marketing Program to agents in the Santa Barbara , LA /
Beverly Hills and Hawaii offices.
In addition to real estate,
Monica was heavily involved in volunteer work. Children's issues
and education were always near and dear to her heart. Monica served
on the board of directors for the United Boys and Girls Clubs
of Santa Barbara County for ten years, co-chairing their second
largest annual fundraiser and directing a 5-day camp for 75 kids
at risk, four years in a row. She also served on the board for
the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, chairing their Education
Committee for three years. Even though she was a consistent top
producer in real estate and an ardent children's advocate, she
was still searching for her unique contribution that would connect
to her sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Then Monica discovered Dr. Chérie Carter-Scott and Lynn Stewart of the MMS Institute, an organization committed to healing through theatre and ritual. This 12-year relationship would for ever change her life. With the dedicated support of these two empowering women, Monica embarked on a journey which would unearth her authentic passion and uncover her real life's purpose. During this time, Monica discovered photography as a mode of self-expression. Her experience of photographing nature and children helped her develop her aesthetic eye and provided a deep sense of fulfillment for her. A few years later, Monica's life purpose finally revealed itself to her.
Through a series of events, Monica made a clear choice to end her successful 20-year career in real estate and commit herself fully to learning the art and craft of filmmaking. Within two months, she had immersed herself in film classes at the local city college. During her time there, she became pain fully aware of the young students' fascination and amusement with violent films. A dedicated aunt of two inspiring toddlers, she decided to make her first class project about the impact of media violence on children. To her delight, her short film, “A Kinder World” (13 minute documentary) won “Best Documentary” at SB City College's annual Showcase Contest. With the realization of her award wining first documentary, and the refrain from many that “this gifted woman has found her niche,” Monica has committed to developing this short film into a feature length documentary which will explore the effects of multi-media violence on children.
Monica's involvement with MMS's courses enabled her to converge her talents, interests and passions into a life filled with purpose. In real estate, Monica discovered she was not only a competitor and an entrepreneur, but also a winner. In her non-profit experiences she discovered her passion as a child advocate. In her photography, she found her aesthetic capabilities. Through her work with MMS Institute, Monica learned to apply her life coaching skills to the interview process and saw how she could be a force for healing in the world. And as a documentary filmmaker, Monica will be combining her sensitivities, her aesthetics, her advocacy, her desire to heal, her ability to heighten awareness, and her commitment to be a voice for our youth. She has never been clearer, more committed and more impassioned than she is about making this film and helping children and their families.