We had the good fortune of connecting with Ramona Ferreyra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ramona, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I found myself dealing with a chronic illness that made traditional employment impossible. I knew I had to create a revenue stream for myself as I navigated financial insecurity and health challenges. I tried to tap into existing businesses, skin care sales, pyramid models etc. None of these spoke to my heart and I failed at them fabulously.
Then my nephew Jadiel came down with meningitis, he was four months old. While watching him during his recovery I had the idea that became Ojala Threads Inc. I haven’t found immediate success via Ojala, but at least I believe in my company and our mission.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a doodler, historian, poet, advocate and defender.
My background is in outreach and partnership development. I did this work on behalf of the FBI and Department of Defense. I have masters degrees in Diplomacy and Military Studies; National Security and Strategic Studies; International Disaster Management and Planning. I tweaked her leadership style at Harvard’s Kennedy School and Center for Creative Leadership. While I pursued my degrees I worked at the Gap holding every possible position. My favorite role was Associate Manager for the baby and kids store in Bronx, New York. While I held this role my favorite activity was dressing mannequins in the baby section.
While my background and skill set seems odd they helped me shape Ojala as a social enterprise. I previously led outreach efforts focused on community engagement and environmental resilience. These activities are now core to the work we do within our “Doing Good in the Hood” efforts. I prioritize advocacy work that impacts policymaking in the areas of criminal justice reform, public housing and public transportation.
Looking back all of this makes sense now but as I was living each stage of my life I had no idea what it all meant, and how it would all work together. Through all these moments one thing remained true, I pursued what spoke to my heart. Nothing does this more effectively than Ojala which to me is a a love letter to my ancestors, and descendants.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place in my neighborhood is at the end of my road. My neighborhood is the poorest congressional district in America. We don’t have parks, have frighteningly asthma rates, high unemployment, and were decimated by COVID. To escape all of this I walk toward the end of my road. This brings me to the East River. The land there is currently occupied by a waste management company that processes trash from all over NYC. Nightly a train runs along the river and takes this trash north. But, past the train tracks there is a patch of grass large enough to hold a few trees, and wildflowers. This patch is a refuge for me. When I long to connect with land, with the water I go here. When I need to disconnect from the despair that is palpable in my community, I go here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
BOC Network, Start Small Think Big, SCORE