Lifelong Nevadan Leslie Parraguirre, 54, is a textbook example of the resilience that has made Las Vegas rebound after numerous hard economic times. She has faced the challenge of the latest recession while battling health problems that would have felled the average person.
“I know firsthand that Leslie is resilient, she thinks big — really big — and she’s generous to a fault, just like the town she comes from,” Las Vegas resident and former tennis standout Andre Agassi said in an email. “The risk-taking spirit of Las Vegas and the ‘can do’ ethos of Nevada are built into her core.”
Parraguirre, a Queensridge resident, is owner of Colours Inc., an interior design firm in the Holsum Lofts at 241 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 145. With more than 25 years experience as an interior designer, her artistic stamp is on such local landmarks as the Spanish Trail Country Club, Park Towers, Soho Lofts, Golden Gaming properties and many private residences.
Her “paying it forward” philosophy is showcased in donated designs at the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy, Opportunity Village and Child Haven.
“Leslie has stood shoulder to shoulder with our School and Foundation for over 15 years, always giving freely of herself,” said Agassi. “A true creative perfectionist, her work on behalf of our students and education has been relentless.”
With the most recent recession, Parraguirre had to change her business paradigm. “It was the hardest time in my life,” she said about the decision to cut her company in half in order for it to survive. She instituted a “whole family policy” that she explains as a reasonable way to deal with employees who have babies or school-age children. “Women can’t possibly be expected after six weeks to go back to work and leave their infant, so we let them bring their babies to work for six months,” she said. “We’ve had 16 kids go through here (over the years), and we’re about to have our 17th.” She extends her family-friendly atmosphere to include all school holidays and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s, if the work schedule permits.
In 2011, while in the midst of the recession-induced restructuring of her company, Parraguirre was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. She described the lesion as a mole that was checked yearly but not removed. “A big mistake – I knew in my head it was wrong.” “I was terrified for it to get out (that she had cancer) – that it would fold my company – (people) were going to stop giving me business … and that never happened,” she said.
Working “breathes new life into me,” Parraguirre said. Current projects include taverns, gaming establishments, residential estates and a new development for Pardee Homes. “Getting this Pardee job for me was such a winner/winner thing,” she said. “To see them finally give that work to a local Nevada company after 50 years in the home-building business here – finally a local interior designer is going to do their merchandising.”
Linda Smith, chief development officer of Opportunity Village, calls Parraguirre “an original and visionary designer.” Smith describes her as “a shining example of what we as Las Vegas citizens should be like. Leslie never says no when we need her, and she is a very respected member of the Opportunity Village family.”
In 2012, Parraguirre learned that her mother, Wanda Jacobs, a Las Vegas resident since 1960, had terminal cancer. Jacobs lived with the family and provided extra love and support for her two granddaughters while her son-in-law, Nevada Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre, commuted frequently to Carson City. In the midst of caring for her mother, Parraguirre was diagnosed with a second cancer, stage II colon cancer, in April 2013. “I was beside myself because I was losing my mother,” she said. Jacobs died in July.
When asked how she goes on while most people would feel sorry for ourselves, she said, “The story is that I’m still here — I survived it. I survived the recession. I kept my business together. I kept my people employed, and I’ve been able to keep my wits about me during all of this because of faith, family and friends.”
How is she doing now? “I know that I’m better every single day,” she said. With an excellent prognosis, she credits the “awesome group of women” who work for her who have “done a 100 percent great job” for her clients. “My health is coming back. What more can you ask for?”
For more information: visit www.lvcolours.com or call 702-233-1333.