I am Goodness is a reason to celebrate
Catherine Ojala’s story began years ago in Liberia, in western Africa. At age 3, as she and her family faced civil war, they escaped north to the country of Sierra Leone, where they thrived for about five years until the rise of a second civil war. The journey that ensued for Ojala, her older sister and her mom to leave Sierra Leone and reunite with her father in the United States was filled with difficult events and was taxing to say the least.
Eventually, the family was reunited and started a new life in Florida. Ojala played sports and the violin, but also had a front row seat to living in Section 8 housing and watching her mom work exceptionally hard each day as a house cleaner and McDonald’s employee. Motivated by her mom, Ojala would set the stage for her future life of inspiring other women.
An extremely hard-working and disciplined Ojala attended the University of Central Florida. She rose to the occasion in the university’s Nicholson School of Communications, where Mr. Nicholson himself said, “You are the reason I built this school.” She had dreams of working for Conde Nast, but her dream got sidelined with marriage and the sacrifices women sometimes make. What she didn’t know then was her story just needed time to unfold.
Fast forward to present day, and Ojala is inspiring women everywhere with her journey as a refugee. She is a highly regarded speaker who travels the country motivating others. She has a poignant podcast, Not Just a Mother, that explores the importance of mothers living life outside of traditional roles. Now, she has put pen to paper with her first book, I Am Goodness, released on March 23.
Ojala’s book is her story, a very personal and raw one. It is a story she thought she would never tell. However, one day she said that God came to her and said, “This is your book.” The biography is her journey, including life as a refugee, interracial marriage, and miscarriage.
Through her words, Ojala hopes to give strength and confidence to women everywhere, hoping they embrace and share their own stories. “Everyone’s story deserves to be told,” shared Ojala who is a mom of three young boys.
Her book launch party was March 23 in the Turnhalle room at the Tivoli in Denver and was a celebration and affirmation of women everywhere and in every circumstance. Ojala invited women-owned business vendors, including two young women from Young American Center for Financial Education, and heart-warming stories from women were shared about anxiety, depression, and living with physical barriers. All the proceeds supported the Women’s Bean Project, whose mission is to change women’s lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise. “I knew I wanted to be with women, inspire them and help create an atmosphere with them,” she said.
Ojala’s story and her presence is warm, caring, thoughtful and moving. To learn more about her, visit www.catherineojala.com. Find her new book, I Am Goodness, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Walmart and listen to her podcast, Not Just a Mother, on iTunes or Spotify.
By Elean Gersack; photos courtesy of Catherine Ojala