Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye is a wife, mom, Senior Software Analyst, Business Strategist, fitness coach, real estate investor and entrepreneur. The Obafemi Awolowo University-trained Zoologist is also the CEO of JeLarmmy Enterprises, JeLarmmy Homes and the newly established JeLarmmy Travel companies.
Larmmy’s passion for issues centered on mental health nudged her to become a co-founder of HeartCafe, an NGO focused on mental health awareness. As a fast-rising twitter influencer with over 50 thousand followers, Larmmy a.k.a Chelsea Godmother co-hosts a Twitter Space session called HeartCafe every Friday at 5pm on her twitter page with her co-founder / psychotherapist, Dedoyin Ajayi, through Heartcafe they have helped over 160 individuals receive free therapy sessions.
Larmmy is also a trustee of ProjectHope, an organisation focused on philanthropy, providing skills acquisition platforms to individuals, scholarships, and community development.
This mom of three kids wears many hats. As a Nigerian living in the USA, she has a full-time job as a senior software analyst, two consulting side jobs in I.T, and was recently an Executive Producer to the short film “Mirror” currently streaming on Youtube.
Larmmy has supported a lot of small business owners with grants and mentorship over the years. In 2022, she was a guest speaker at the Catalysing Change Week, an international event led by social innovators, entrepreneurs sharing knowledge and ideas to accelerate collaborative systems change.
Larmmy was once the Director of Socials of the Nigerian Association of Zoology Students, OAU chapter and later went on to become the Vice President. She also won multiple awards from her Alma Mata; Obafemi Awolowo University including Best Entrepreneur, Most Social Individual.
In 2009, She was the Editor-In-Chief of Edify Magazine which featured the final interview of the popular artist, Da Grin before his tragic passing.
Larmmy is currently being published as a co-author on a medical journal in the USA and also working on the launching of JeLarmmy homes, a five-unit apartment housing set to complete in October 2022. She is also a Beachbody Fitness coach where she is assisting people in getting into a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally. Her OH-MY-GAD challenge in August 2022 was to encourage people who joined to drink a gallon of water everyday and this was a huge success based on testimony. She hosts virtual zoom workouts and dance sessions as well.
Larmmy’s secret to being able to achieve all these, when asked, is effective time management, therapy, an effective team and an amazing support system. This superwoman, super mom and wife is sure living her best life with more to come. She shares her inspiring story.
Tell us more about Jelarmmy enterprises?
JeLarmmy Enterprises is my petty trading business. It is an online variety store that sells any kind of household goods and women and children’s shoes. I sell anything. I conduct market research on items that may fulfil a need and I sell that.
Example is the gas level indicators which basically tells you when you’re running low on gas and need a refill. You know how gas finishes on a Sunday morning, you can avoid that.
What motivated you to start Heartcafe? How has it been since inception?
My passion for mental health. There was a time I would see lots of suicide or attempted suicide posts on my timeline daily. I had a conviction to do something about it and luckily, I met Dedoyin Ajayi who is a psychotherapist.
We hosted a space on suicide and mental health and Heartcafe took off from there. We realized that a lot of people are going through a lot and an average Nigerian needs therapy. We had people who were willing to volunteer and donate therapy sessions. Since inception, we have been able to donate free therapy to over 160 people and counting.
You are a senior software analyst, what inspired you to pitch your tent in the tech sector?
Funnily enough, I studied Zoology in OAU. At some point in my life, I wanted to become a doctor. But when I got to the US, that dream changed. I got introduced to a healthcare software which enables me to work closely with doctors. I call it a win-win.
You are also a trustee for Project Hope, and former social director of the Nigerian association for zoology students. Please tell us about your work with these two organizations.
I was a social director back in OAU. I loved partying, planning and organizing events so it was the perfect post to contest for between 2008 – 2009.
Being a ProjectHope trustee is more recent. The organization was founded by my very good friend and sister Funmi Oladejo. When she approached me and explained all the good it will do to society and the empowerment of individuals, I knew I had to be a part of it. I didn’t hesitate.
What inspired your 0h-my-GAD challenge, and how was the reception?
My husband, Yomi, inspired this. This man can go a whole day without drinking more than a cup of water. So, I recently started my healthy lifestyle journey by being a Beachbody fitness coach and I studied how important water is.
I needed him to be my first client so I set up the challenge. GAD is an acronym for Gallon-A-Day. The challenge requires you to drink a gallon of water everyday for a month and earn a badge. The more, the merrier so I posted it on twitter and my Whatsapp status and got other friends to join as well.
It takes 21 days of doing something consistently to become a habit. I’m happy he drinks more water now. Everyone who joined the challenge struggled at first but it became easier.
I remember my friend, Mr Pi saying he didn’t drink alcohol for the entire month and another friend of mine, Olamide Popoola said she was sipping water in the club. That was hilarious.
You also did some work in the media a decade ago, tell us about it and how it influenced you?
Yes, I started a magazine called Edify. I had big dreams for it. My elder brother, Jahbless was making new waves in the music industry so he linked me up with Da Grin to be on the cover of the magazine.
I remember getting a few minor sponsorships from small businesses on OAU campus. On this day, my friend Funmi Ogunlusi, a photographer from Pixel studios, OAU (I forget his name), my younger sister and I headed to Da Grin’s house in Surulere. He was on a music video shoot on the Island as he apparently wasn’t informed that we were coming. His gateman gave him a call and he asked us to wait for him.
About an hour later, he appeared in his blue car wearing a white singlet and white shorts with socks and Dunlop slippers. He bought us drinks, answered every single question we asked him and took numerous pictures with us. I wish I had all the details of that conversation. The magazine was scheduled to launch in June but he, unfortunately, had an accident in April and passed away.
Everyone around me told me it was the perfect time to cash in on the magazine using his tragic death but I just couldn’t bring myself up to do it.
The greatest lesson I learnt is, surround yourself with positive and like minded people before you embark on a project. Most of the people around me at that time were there because they had something to gain, not because they had my interest at heart. Also, life is so feeble and short.
Women supporting women”, do you believe in this statement and how are you using your platform to reflect this statement?
Absolutely. When I see a woman working hard, I give all the kudos I can because I know how hard it must be. There are so many unrealistic expectations placed on a woman by society.
When I see you breaking those barriers, I will be your greatest cheerleader. I am in the position that I am because women like me gave me opportunities and chances. I’m all for women supporting women but I do not support bad behavior. I have supported numerous women owned businesses with grants and loans to boost them. I have also paid for some to get a certificate or learn a skill or two, as well as paid school fees for others.
You recently executive produced a short film, could you shed more light on this project?
Opeyemi Olakanmi is a very talented movie producer. We happened to connect on twitter and I saw her movie, Orisun on Youtube. When she approached me about the “Mirror”, I could not resist.
When I read the script and saw that it was about child molestation and suicide, it aligned with my purpose and I was happy to work with her.
You are a mom of three, a wife and you also wear many hats, what’s your work-life-balance routine?
I owe my work-life balance to effective time management and my exceptional ability to multi-task.
I can conveniently do four things at the same time. I have been in two team meetings at once and paid attention at both. Every hour of my day counts and I also do not joke with self care.
Once or twice a year, I go on a “me only” vacation. It is my own “eat-pray-love” trip where I just focus on myself and refresh. I’m also able to achieve this because my husband is a very hands-on dad.
Despite both of us working in IT and having full time jobs, we also work as a team when it comes to childcare. He can change a diaper in 60 seconds or less.
Being a mental health advocate, what can we do better as a society to promote mental and emotional wellbeing?
First, for a country like Nigeria, we need good governance first. There are some things that should not be affecting our mental health that do. With good governance and a working system, a portion of mental health issues in Nigeria will be under control.
Secondly, I need everyone to know that getting therapy is not a bad thing. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Treat your mental health the same way as your physical health. If you get a headache or malaria, you go to the doctor. If you feel down mental, talk to your therapist.
What are some of the challenges you encounter as a mental health advocate and how are you using your social influence to solve them?
This is a bit tricky. For a platform like Twitter, we have had people use false suicide and mental health issues to rip good people off their hard-earned money. Some use emotional blackmail on you.
The one I can’t stand is when you get ripped off or stolen from or scammed. You call out the scammer publicly so that others won’t fall victim but you get attacked because you didn’t “consider the mental health of the scammer”.
I tell people, that’s not how it works. People expect you to be in a shell and not be able to speak your mind freely just because you’re a mental health advocate which is totally wrong.
Final word to young women who are affected by the ASUU strike and are hopeless?
All I can say is hang in there. The sad part is this is something no one has control over. When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. It’s bad that the government does not prioritize education and is making the youth waste away.
I recently started the scoping phase of JeLarmmy scholarships to assist existing students transfer to a non-ASUU strike affected university or have a freshman attend a private university, fully funded.
However, how many people can I help? There are hundreds of thousands of students just sitting at home idle for over six months.
To young women who are affected by this, if you have a passion, if you have a skill, try investing in that. There are online courses you can sign up for. I have two ladies close to me who are currently studying some Harvard online courses.
There is always something to do. Please, stay busy. Being able to help one or two people is fulfilling for me. May God help us all.