Happy Sunday and I bring you Caroline from Kenya! I have had the privilege of being Caroline’s Business Coach for the past one and half years and I tell you, she is AMAZING! Enjoy this interview I had with Caroline, it’s just a tip of the iceberg of who she is 🙂
Ama Duncan (AD): Hi, Caroline, thank you so much for making time for me today, all the way from Kenya. Before we start, let me just say you’ve been my client for one and half years and I have to commend you; you’ve been amazing to our mastermind and Fab Women in Business groups. Also, I have to thank you for the role you are playing in making the International Fabulous Women’s Conference happen. Now I know that you’re a woman with multiple gifts, and for today’s conversation, I want us to narrow it down to your life and even entrepreneurial journey as a psychologist. First of all, what made you decide that okay, this is what I want to do?
Caroline Ouma (CO): My journey has been very weird. I started off wanting to be a medical doctor. Then when I went to sign up for medical school, the receptionist suggested biochemistry to me . She asked me, ‘are you sure you want to be a doctor?’ and I said, Yeah, I’m sure. Then she sent me over to the morgue! That was a shocker that made me decide to go for her suggestion. So I thought I’d be a scientist for the rest of my life, but I didn’t. Well, God has His ways and I ended up working in Barclays Bank. And then whilst I was there, I was at the ripe age of being asked, ‘When are you getting married?’, ‘ When am I getting children?’ I wasn’t ready so I enrolled myself for a master’s. Now the weird thing is that I actually originally wanted to be a clinical psychologist. Even as I grew up, I always had people come up to me and share personal things with me. I was surprised because they didn’t even know me. Eventually, I decided to get trained because this could actually be my natural calling, and it was good to be qualified in it. I left the bank when they were restructuring and I needed time to study and do my practicals. I went into counseling and helping people out. In 2018, I decided to embark on a journey of finding out about my fertility and that journey got me into fertility awareness. As I was just sharing the information, I realized a lot of women are very ignorant when it comes to their fertility. Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic (and I think I should call 2020 the year of purpose, because that’s when everyone re-evaluated themselves) and I met Ama Duncan. Then I had started a business called Family Management Consultants. The interesting thing was that I went into the world of psychology, without knowing I had a psychological problem myself. In 2021, I was diagnosed with major depression and I had to take medications for it. But it has been like the best thing that has ever happened to me, a lot of psychologists and counselors are not for medication, but some of us need it. Some of us need that booster. And I’ve seen the difference in my life in 2020 and 2021. And you, of course, have had front seats to my journey as an entrepreneur. So now I am an entrepreneur who is trying to stop surviving and start thriving in the world of business. It’s been one hell of a ride.
AD: What a story! And I just have to commend the receptionist; showing you the morgue first was so smart. I think this is so important to have a feel of a job before diving into it. Caroline, you mentioned that you were diagnosed with depression. Can you share a bit of that and how you got out of it?
CO: So the thing is, I could blame part of it for being a firstborn, Christian and a perfectionist. So I’m usually very, very hard on myself. I think I’ve been depressed since I was 16. At least that’s how far back I can tell. I started going for therapy in 2020 and we finished the sessions just in time for me to meet you. When I realized I could no longer do things myself. I literally picked up my phone, called my therapist and told her I need help. I can’t do this anymore.I am struggling and I can see the signs. It was not that bad and I didn’t want it to get worse. For instance, I was fixated about my business name and changed it even though there was no actual change. That’s a sign of depression. I remember I lost the will to do anything; waking up was a task, taking my children to school was a task. Even shopping which I loved was now something I hated. I didn’t want to get out of bed, take a shower… My sister’s literally used to come in, drag me out of bed to go take a shower. I’m very fastidious about my hygiene so not taking a shower was actually a big deal. And then struggling with addiction to alcohol; I started realizing I needed alcohol to be able to do some things. My therapist taught me how to cope and manage. Funny thing was, I was now on the other side. I still go for therapy, the medication helps a lot. The other thing that has really helped is being part of your mastermind. Remember how for months I dutifully paid for the mastermind and yet made no progress with my goals. Now, things are changing.
AD: Yes, you are growing and doing amazing. And thank you for sharing about the value of therapy and medication. And of course being in a community with support.
CO: And I am so grateful to my Accountability Partners; Sheila, Priscilla and Nhyira…literally all those women and I met them through you. They prayed for me and I saw the hand of God. Oh, they’ve been just the best.
AD: To God be the glory. As you know, many of the women in our network wear many different hats. They are mothers, wives, career women running their own businesses and dealing with all these other things. For any woman who is at a stage similar to where you were last year where you couldn’t even bring yourself to shower, what would you say to them?
CO: It’s okay not to be okay. Because sometimes we put so much on our shoulders until they are sagging. There is stuff you have to let go of in order to honor your energy. I am okay with saying no to things that will deplete my energy from other things that are very important in my life. I have actually been jealously guarding the things that I value, my family, faith, time to just wind down in my business… I have just been gracefully saying no.
AD: Yes, yes! Thank you, for sharing that; it’s really okay not to be okay. And I like that you sought professional help even though you are a psychologist yourself. You acknowledged that you needed help. I for instance don’t only have a business coach, I also have a mindset coach because I realize I needed help at some point.
CO: Yeah, it’s okay to seek help. And there is no shame. It doesn’t stop you being the fabulous woman, that you are. But even every fabulous woman needs help at one time or the other. So just honor that, lean in and get help.
AD: Fantastic. Now let’s talk about your podcast which by the way is made right here in Africa. I love it. Tell us about that and your services.
CO: I work with women in two ways: reproductive health and parenting. In my monthly webinars on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 5.00pm GMT, I share a few of the tips and tricks women can use. Secondly, through my podcast Today’s African Mom Podcast with Mrs. D, I talk about parenting as an African mom. I share helpful tips like parents taking their own time out.
AD: Fantastic. So before we end this conversation, please complete the following sentences with what comes to your mind.
If I could advise my younger self in one short sentence, I would say ‘Caroline, you are smart. You are beautiful. And you are a child of God. And He loves you. Completely! Like there’s no loose ends completely.’
I am fabulous because: ‘I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to. Because God is the one who gives me the strength to do so.’
One book that has greatly helped me in business is: ‘Can I say two? ‘We Should All Be Millionaires’ by Rachael Rogers and ‘Chill and Prosper: The New Way to Grow Your Business, Make Millions, and Change the World’ by Denise Duffield Thomas are both spot on.
AD: Yes! You know I was thinking this morning that, We Should All Be Millionaires is the best book I’ve read on wealth creation. I love listening to it over and over again on Audible. So how do we find you Caroline?
CO: I release a weekly podcast called Today’s African Mom Podcast on most podcast platforms, Apple, Spotify, etc. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ managingfamilies/
LinkedIn: Caroline Ouma
WhatsApp: +254 783 534 041
AD: Thank you Caroline for a beautiful conversation and I look forward to seeing you in March for our International Fabulous Women’s Conference.
About Caroline W. Ouma
Caroline is a Counseling Psychologist and FEMM Educator living and working in Kenya. She is the CEO of Managing Families, and their main focus is working with women – specifically teaching them about parenting and how to manage both their reproductive and overall health using Fertility Awareness.