By Shawn Nowlin email@example.com
The National League of Junior Cotillions is the nation’s leading character-education program and the only organization that trains and licenses directors to establish local cotillion programs. The primary purpose of the organization is to give students instruction in ballroom dance and practice in the social courtesies needed for better relationships with their families and friends.
As Director of the program’s Roanoke Valley Chapter, Leila Tomasone’s responsibilities include administering the local chapter of Junior Cotillion here in the Roanoke Valley, essentially as a franchisee.
“I network with the parents in the community to invite select fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade ladies and gentlemen to participate in the program,” she said. “I teach them essential social skills, etiquette, table manners, how to navigate relationships and the business world as they get older, and basic ballroom dance to make special occasions more fun and comfortable for them.”
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Tomasone comes from a very large and close-knit family. Growing up, many of her cousins, aunts and uncles lived in the same neighborhood.
“We would walk to school together at St. Paul’s Catholic, which is where my mom went to school, and everyone attended church and events like the annual Fall Festival. I have one younger brother and one younger sister. My dad is an architect who started his own practice in St. Pete, so I’ve always been in and around his business,” she said.
Tomasone added, “I was always very interested in International Relations and studied abroad several times in college, the first trip which was financed by winning a pageant called Junior Sungoddess, which may have been when I first became interested in learning social etiquette. We wore fancy dresses and, of course, there were homecomings and proms and then the Sungoddess pageant in college as well as my friends’ Debutante Balls, that piqued my interest in the social graces and these traditions of how society prepares young people for adulthood.”
Tomasone met her husband Derek through mutual friends at a summer evening event in July 2017 atop the Penthouse, formerly the Center in the Square in downtown Roanoke.
“It was so romantic! The setting was so beautiful, and we were immediately enamored with each other. That same night he took me salsa dancing down the street at Leonore Restaurant and we danced the night away,” Tomasone said before adding, “He and our two girls have been super supportive of my business endeavors, both as a relationship coach and now a Cotillion Director.”