We had the good fortune of connecting with Lola Dada-Olley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lola, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I used to think of work-life balance as a form of compartmentalization. I would see balance as the art of juggling multiple commitments in the air and hope nothing falls. But, as I grow as woman, a mother, a lawyer and a businesswoman, I am seeing work-life balance as the death of compartmentalization and more as a walk toward opportunities that allow me to better utilize the breadth of professional and personal experience I’ve amassed over a lifetime thus far.

So, today, with this in mind, I am a multi-hyphenate with opportunities to showcase how parts of my personal and professional life have merged. I am a mom and an autism advocate; I am the mother of two autistic children (one with an intellectual disability) and the older sister to an autistic, intellectually disabled man. I’ve written on the various triumphs and challenges associated with lifetime caregiving over decades. I am the founder and host of the “Not Your Mama’s Autism” podcast. I’ve recently served on two non-profit boards dedicated to members of the disabled community, particularly focused on access to health care, education and vocational opportunities. I speak to organizations on disability inclusion. I am also an attorney who works on issues that are at the intersection of law, technology and disability.

So, while work-life balance has never been easy, I look at it in a completely different light.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am proud of sharing my family’s story in a raw, authentic and vulnerable way through the art of audio and written storytelling. Storytelling is our family’s main tool of advocacy. We chose to use this art to show one family’s journey through autism, intellectual disability, race, the immigrant experience, the navigation of health care, and everything in between.

We’ve learned so many lessons. One lesson includes the reality that art allows for many powerful interpretations. For example, one podcast episode focused on the birth story of our daughter, who was born not breathing. What I didn’t realize is that a medical doctor would reach out to me and inform me that she hoped to incorporate that podcast episode into a bigger conversation about black maternal health. To say I was touched, would be a massive understatement.

Incremental progress is still progress. Our storytelling may not be for the masses, and that is more than okay. The goal of our storytelling and our overall mission is significance over traditional meanings of what success looks like by greater society. One day at a time.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Too many to count, but here is a try…

My brother, Kunle Dada

My husband, Tosan Olley

My children, Fela and Alero

Amazing members of our village, like Edujie Imoisili and Sesan Akinwale

Deborah and Ira Spencer, founders of the non-profit Dominique Cares

Camille Proctor, founder of the Color of Autism

Website: www.notyourmamasautism.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/notyourmamasautism/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourMamasAutism/

Youtube: https://www.ted.com/talks/lola_dada_olley_your_path_is_your_purpose

Other: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/not-your-mamas-autism-nyma/id1524378068 https://open.spotify.com/show/6jWxBGW3Jc1VVkWd8NMnT9

Image Credits
Suraj Photography

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