Nilaja Montgomery, 2021 Woman of Influence by Colorado Springs Business Journal, is a relationship manager, connecter, and an all-round get-stuff-done kind of gal who says her biggest professional accomplishment is negotiating a 6-figure salary. But her greatest overall accomplishment in life was giving birth to her son, Justice.
"Being a mother has been my greatest lesson, my greatest gift and my greatest challenge," says Nilaja. "But I'm so happy I chose this path."
As a self-made woman with an MBA, Nilaja says her guiding star as an adolescent was rising above where she grew up. "I grew up in Gary, Indiana," she says. "My high school's graduation rate at the time was about 75 percent, so every one in four students dropped out. So I aimed to be in the top 20 percent of my class."
Nilaja went on to serve as a medical officer in the Army, serving two deployments to the middle east, and is now writing her memoir to share her experiences with others. She feels called to give a voice to women in the military community, especially those struggling with PTSD. Her goal is to normalize these conversations to raise awareness of service member and veteran mental health needs.
Today, she continues to give herself permission to embrace her boldness and lives life according to her own rules. After losing close friends overseas, Nilaja knows the value of living in the moment and be grateful for it. These values are ones she hopes to pass down as her legacy to her son.
"Start," she says. "Try it. Try it on. Press the button. Do it. With your knees shaking, your breath short and your heart pounding, do it anyway. The world's most inspiring people are those living out their passions and going in the direction that feels good to their souls. They are those who encourage others and live in a constant state of courage. They are those who are relentless and never give up, no matter how hard life hits."
"LIVE speaks to me most," Nilaja says of Maja Arnold's necklaces. "As a veteran, living the life I want and envision are the most important ideas to me. Watching my son figure life out and figuring out life along with my son and my life partner are amazing journeys that I get to navigate. This life is grande and beautiful!"
May is a month that we continue to honor all mothers. Their beautiful and unparalleled bond of love truly makes the world go round.
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