Abena Ojetayo

Catalyst Interview Series: Abena Ojetayo

How did you get involved with KCCI? I had been in Tallahassee for about 4 years, and was toying around with the idea of returning to the northeast when Stacey Getz shared the opportunity with me. I applied because she convinced me that it would be an experience where I could really “get my hands dirty” and help shape the future of Tallahassee. As God would have it, my family, and I decided to stay in Tallahassee, and I got the chance to dig in and learn more of what the city offered through KCCI.

What was your favorite aspect of the project? The fact that people with such diverse backgrounds were able to come together to work on a tangible idea. Since our specific initiative was chosen prior to the Catalyst member selection, it was really interesting to see all of us collaborate across sometimes divergent perspectives while keeping the main thing in mind – to make Tallahassee a better place and create a space that was inviting for all.

What were some challenges you faced during the #iHeartTally project? During any KCCI project year, you become deeply involved with each other and the task. While we all came together to work on a singular initiative, life always has its way of interfering. So, I’d say, balancing work, life and stamina for the project, between all of us was a big challenge. Another obstacle we faced was fundraising and resources. I don’t think we realized the scale of the project and how much fundraising would actually be involved and that slowed down some of the process a bit but we kept pushing all the way to the finish line.

What are your favorite Tallahassee spots? Too many good ones to pick from! Lake Ella for a stroll, feeding the ducks with my boys, or grabbing a dirty Chai from Black Dog Cafe. Peck Greene Park on Sunday afternoons. Linene Woods is my neighborhood and urban forest sanctuary. Tallahassee Museum is my happy place.

What is some advice you have for future Catalysts? Delve fully into the project in order to succeed! Reward collaboration in order to get to the end goal, and create value in what you’re building by connecting it to what will truly build up members of our community from all walks of life.