Monday, 2nd October 2023

Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye: We need to encourage people to prioritize their mental health

By Esther Ijewere
14 May 2022   |   3:36 am
Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye, popularly known as Chelsea Godmother, is a wife, mum, senior software analyst, business strategist and philanthropist making a difference in the mental health community through her Twitter session....

Ogidan Odeseye

Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye, popularly known as Chelsea Godmother, is a wife, mum, senior software analyst, business strategist and philanthropist making a difference in the mental health community through her Twitter session #Heartcafe, and in humanity at large. She shares her inspiring journey in this interview.

Childhood Influence
Everything in my childhood prepared me for what I do now. My mum is a retired teacher/headmistress, and my dad was a mechanic. I was born in Mushin, Lagos. I lost my dad on my 10th birthday; I remember a lot about my childhood and how I had to step up and grow up faster than I needed to.

My dad has three wives and my mum was the youngest of them. I learnt a lot about hard work, persistence and resilience. When I lost my dad, I remember the family swooping in and attempting to take everything he had worked for from us. He had a spare parts shopping complex in Ladipo, Mushin then and the 56 shops had to be divided in to 3 parts. I spoke up at this meeting and told the family how it was supposed to be shared; they went with my suggestion. I was a little girl of 10 and the youngest in the room; that was a proud moment.

Inspiration Behind Heartcafe
I saw Hauwa on twitter make a post about sponsoring therapy for five people through Dedoyin Ajayi; I knew that was my window of opportunity. I reached out to Hauwa who connected me to Dedoyin where I sponsored additional 20 people. Then, I suggested us hosting a mental health space. It turns out Dedoyin was already hosting a group mental health session offline before the pandemic called Heartcafe. The online space kicked off and she brought me in as a co-founder.

The Journey So Far
It has been fulfilling. We host Heartcafe every Friday at 5pm and it’s amazing how much we have been able to achieve… the stories that are shared, the healing and therapy that are happening. We recently celebrated 1year anniversary of Heartcafe and in a year, we have given free therapy sessions to 164 people and this is excluding the 100s of people that join us every week.

Advocating For Issues Centered On Mental Health, And What Inspired This Passion For Such A Worthy Cause
I have worked with and been around people with mental illness and it just became a passion. I once worked in a pediatric behavioral health unit of a hospital as a consultant, and it just piqued my interest. There was a wave of suicide attempts one time on twitter and
I knew I had to something in my capacity.

Being A Senior Software Analyst, And How It Has Impacted Me As A Person
I work in Healthcare I.T. I’m a senior analyst for a software used in hospitals for patient care. I build, customise and upgrade this system for different hospitals across the United States. You know growing up in Nigeria; our parents believe you should either be a doctor, lawyer or an engineer.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be a doctor. I ended up studying Zoology in OAU; I know I’m never going to be a doctor. That dream has been squashed a long time ago, so helping doctors, nurses and healthcare workers get their job done faster and more efficiently is getting the best of both worlds and it’s sure paying the bills.

My Humanitarian Work On Twitter
As someone who didn’t grow up with much, I know how it feels to not have. I know that my life has been a journey of grace and people have helped me along the way. This is how I am giving back. I also get a dopamine effect from helping people so I can’t stop.

The Society And Its Support For Women In Tech
Being a woman in tech has its ups and down, but I have been lucky to work with some amazing people who have given me opportunities regardless of my gender. I did notice that if a woman interviews me for a contract, it’s much easier than getting interviewed by a man. I didn’t let that stop me though. I think we as women can do more to let go of unfortunate situations and move on quickly rather than dwelling in it expecting self-pity. As a woman, you do need to be extra tough; it’s not always fair, but it is what it is.

Three Women Who Inspire You And Why
Esther in the bible: a queen, a risk taker and an influencer. Do you know what it means to go into the king’s bedroom and demand what you want at that time?
Judy Faulkner: Google this woman; a mum, a mogul. I aspire to be her everyday. I wake up and ask myself, ‘what would Judy do?’
ME: I know this might sound a bit self-serving to some, but I am an inspiration to myself. The things I am able to achieve day to day, my multi-tasking skills need to be studied.

Challenges I Experience In My Line Of Work
When everyone labels you the “I.T guy” and somehow think you’re less deserving of respect. Someone once asked me where do you work, I mentioned ‘so, so hospital’ and she said, what department? I said, I.T, and she goes, ‘so you don’t work there. You just work in I. T.’ I’m like, ‘you will not be able to do your job if everyone on my team take a day off at the same time.’

Other Projects And Activities
I do have a lot on my plate. I’m a mum of three; ages five, three and one, so that’s a major project. I also have a business; I sell household items, so I’m a petty trader. Lastly, the first batch of JeLarmmy homes is now under construction, opening fall of 2022. Real estate has always been a side passion of mine and I’m glad I’m finally able to achieve it with more to come.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
As a Christian, I have read through Prov. 31 over and over. The way that woman runs her household is an inspiration. Women are smart, brilliant and powerful; do not underestimate me and what I can achieve. My gender is my strength, not a limitation.

Advice For Women Who Want To Pitch Their Tent In The Tech Sector
Do it! Find a niche and perfect it; be indispensable when you do. You do not have to know how to code or write software-programming languages to get into tech. There are so many fields that do not require that; scrum master, product owner, project management etc.

Being Happily Married With Amazing Kids And Creating Work Life Balance
The major thing that keeps me going is that Yomi, my husband, is a great support system for me. This man is my backbone; he knows how much I take on at a time and he is always willing to step in and handle things when I’m crashing under the weight.

I’m also a good multi-tasker. I treat my family and work as a scrum project; each person or item is a sprint. It keeps me organised. Believe it or not, I start my day with 45 minutes of exercise and meditation to also get my body and mind right and ready for the day. I’m a morning person; I’m usually up at 4am so I take care of myself before everybody else wakes up.

Important Tech Nuggets With Us
Like I said earlier, you don’t have to know how to code or write programming languages to get into tech. Also, if you want to get into I.T, because everyone else is doing it, you will get bored. My advice is find a field or specialty that appeals to you, go for that and be a master in it.