I am Maimah Karmo. I am a soul-purpose seeker, philanthropist, author, mother, God-lover and all around bad ass. I am also the Founder and CEO of the Tigerlily Foundation and a 10-year survivor of breast cancer.
I’m polite, yet uncouth, shy, yet sassy, can be loud, but can also spend days alone, without uttering a word. I love life, love people, love being happy, hugging, teasing, inspiring and loving others. I grew up wanting to be a nun or in a field where I could minister, love and serve others. I have always felt like I could see and touch people’s souls, long before “new age”, “soul work“ and “transformation“ were buzz words. I always felt so different as a child, alone… I didn’t feel that other people saw the world the way I did – the kind where you love people so deeply it hurts, where you felt everything, where I could walk by someone and their energy could envelope me. It seemed too much to bear. I felt and knew things I “wasn’t supposed to”. It caused me a great deal of sadness, loneliness and pain… but I kept seeking. One day, I learned that there were others like me – who felt “not normal”. I also learned that the thing that I’d thought was my Achilles heel, was my secret warrior weapon – you see, love is a warrior’s sword – and I’m overflowing with it!!!
I had a dream one night as a child. In the dream, I talked to God, and from then on, I knew that whatever happened in my life, He or She would be with me. I would be protected and that I would never be alone. At 15 years old, war broke out in Liberia, and my father put my on a plane alone, with only one suitcase. I had been held at gunpoint once, previously escaped two wars and been hit by lightning. But get this, I was almost struck by lightning when I was six months old. The second time, it got me. The day I was hit by lightning, was a gift to me. I had an out of body experience, which taught me that we really have nothing to be afraid of. I realized that all of our human machinations were just that – busy work. The work we are here to do surpasses our sexuality, gender, race, country, space and time. It’s weird when you get things like that at 12 years old and have no way to express it, nor anyone you can talk to about it.
After the war happened, I worked up to three jobs to help support my immediate and extended family. As a first generation immigrant, I became the embodiment of the American Dream, and began to love embracing my weirdness. It was wonderful and I so enjoyed my time alone. I learned self discovery.
So, long story short, I built my career, had a wonderful angel girl, Noelle. When she was three year old, and in the middle of potty training and tantrums, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. No, I’m not kidding. Then, what did I do? I founded Tigerlily Foundation after my second round of chemotherapy – crazy right? I told you, but she and I had a splendid time. Breast cancer put me and my little girl in a place where we could really “see” each other – not just as mother and daughter, but as souls . God began talking to me – all the time now. He told me to leave my full-time job, so I did. With barely anything, I left corporate America to build my passion and find my why. There was a reason for the wars, escaping crazy soldiers at gunpoint, lightning and breast cancer. I had to find out why. Over the past 10 years, I did; and I worked myself out of ever being “empoyable” again, but I love it! I now work for me, doing the things that I love. I stumbled, fell, stood back up, laughed, cried, and through blood, sweat and tears (literally) – found me. Today, I am happy. Noelle is 13 years old. We live a life we love and I’m now 10 years cancer free. Woooooooo- hooo!
I now spend a lot of my time on advocating for others, speaking at events, coaching individuals, and on Capitol Hill, where I’m called upon to speak as an advocate on women’s health and policy issues. I guess I must be all grown up now! I have worked with Congress Members to draft and help pass two critical pieces of women’s health legislation. I serve on the Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee for Breast Cancer in Young Women; and I was recently appointed to serve on the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s Credentials Committee.
In 2015, I received Traditional Home Magazine’s Classic Woman Award. In 2010, I received the Congressional Black Caucus’ Leadership in Advocacy Award, and the Running Start “Women to Watch Award”. In 2009, I was awarded a L’Oreal Paris’ Woman of Worth award, among others. I’ve been blessed with opportunities that I’d never have dreamed of, for example being featured in media, to include O, the Oprah Magazine, Essence, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Redbook, Traditional Home Magazine and more. I’ve also been featured on Fox 5, ABC 7, CBS, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Alive with Joan (Lunden), OWN and in national radio and print media. It was also wonderful to be invited to the White House to meet First Lady Michelle Obama for breast health events, and as part of The First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative.
Most dear to my heart is Noelle, my partner-in-crime and now an advocate in her own right, hosting an annual event, called Pajama Glam Party, where she engages girls to become advocates and to have healthy lifestyles. She speaks to the media and is interviewed on her perspectives on youth advocacy, girls health, and leadership. Noelle and I have served as Ambassadors for the Office of Women’s Health’s, National Women’s Health Week and Girlshealth.gov initiatives.
In 2010, I published Fearless: Awakening to my Life’s Purpose Through Breast Cancer, which was a best seller. In 2013, I founded Bliss Magazine, a quarterly publication that inspires others to live their soul purpose. I also write for the Huffington Post, You can read my blog here.
I love mentoring girls and young women. I also am an avid runner, health and fitness buff…. love dancing, especially the tango; living in the moment and pursuing things that bring me and those around me joy.
I speak to executives, women’s groups, non-profits, at board retreats, leadership seminars, empowerment events, and more. My keynotes focus on topics such as Empowerment, Transforming Your Trauma, Health and Wellness, Excellence, Soul Purpose, Heart-Driven Leadership, Using Challenges as Gifts, and Living Your Life Vision, Hit by Lightning, Mind Over Matter: Creating Your Bliss, How Being Silly Could Be Your Secret Sauce and Love as Your Legacy. For a more detailed list of topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to meeting you and giving you a big hug!
All my love,