Ep95. You Deserve to Be As You Are with Avukile Zoya | Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Series

"Something that comes falsely with women being leaders is that you always have to put up this face and be strong and tough. The school created a space where we could just be vulnerable with each other. We could just be ourselves and share in each other's stories."

- Avukile Zoya, Ep95. The Monica Kade Podcast


Welcome to Episode 95 of The Monica Kade Podcast. This week we kick off a 5-week podcast series with
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG).

My first OWLAG alumni guest is Avukile Zoya, who was born and raised in South Africa. She is the youngest of 4 siblings and was raised by her mom and sister—who was only four years older than her.

Her acceptance into The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, was a powerful stepping stone enabling her to have the education she dreamed of. Then in 2017, she graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Spanish in the United States. 

Our conversation is a deep dive into her life before OWLAG and the experiences to date, which have shaped her into the women she is today.

Avukile’s story is a powerful illustration of how having access to quality education and a tight-knit and empowering social circle further ignites the flame of our hearts desires. She reminds us that no matter where we come from, life is up to us. We choose how to respond to life and which direction we want to steer our ship—we must only tune into the whispers of our soul.


What life looked like prior to OWLAG
What her relationship with her family is like
The dreams and aspirations she held as a child growing up
Why she wanted to attend OWLAG
The rigorous submission process she went through to be considered a future student
What it was like when she found out she was accepted into OWLAG
We discuss self-doubt and how she navigates that feeling of 'Am I enough? Do I deserve this?'
The life philosophy she leads her life with and how you can use it too
How she fostered empathy towards others when listening to the ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘challenging’ life stories of her fellow OWLAG sisters
What did attending OWLAG teach her about herself and how it applies to you
What she loves about the work she’s been called to do with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in South Africa
What it means to Avukile to be the best version of herself
The person that inspires/supports her to rise into her best self daily
Where she turns to for inspiration and courage to keep going when life feels challenging


Sunset or sunrise and why?
What is Avukile afraid of?
The piece of wisdom she’s been given that she lives by today.



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