Southern Journeys Mother's Day Tribute: Ope Bukola

Southern Journeys, along with fellow creative black women entrepreneurs who support our mission, will be paying tribute to our mothers all May in gratitude for the impact they have made in our lives. Do you enjoy these stories? Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and help us spread the word! 

Another important value I’ve learned from my mother is tenacity. You don’t always get what you want the first time around. It’s important to rebound from stumbles, and to try again.
— Ope Bukola

Mother's Day is less than a week away and luckily we still have great stories to share from entrepreneurs we admire. As you can see from our personal journeys, Southern Journeys is all about resourcefulness, passion, and an unwavering belief that hard work pays off. Ope Bukola, as a self-taught software developer and founder/CEO of educational tech platform CourseSky, embodies all these things:

 Ope Bukola, founder of CourseSky and Zora Magazine 

Ope Bukola, founder of CourseSky and Zora Magazine 

Ope first became interested in education during college while working as a tutor. She realized that many students had the motivation to succeed, but could not afford the best academic resources. Prior to CourseSky, she spent many years working in education. She managed partnerships and marketing efforts for a non-profit provider of open-source textbooks. She's also worked in higher education and management consulting. She is a self-taught web developer, and a graduate of New York University where she earned a joint degree in Economics & Mathematics. When she’s not working on CourseSky, Ope enjoys listening to podcasts, reading magazines, blogging, and taking online classes. [Source:]

The following is our interview with Ope paying tribute to her mother as part of our monthlong Mother's Day celebration:

Which values have been key to your success in life and business and how does your mother embody or instill these values in you?

I've learned many values from my mother, but perhaps the most important is the importance of working hard. My family moved to the US from Nigeria when I was around 10 years old. My mother was a professional nurse in Nigeria but had to re-earn her certificate in the US. To do this, she had work full time as a Nursing Assistant, while taking courses to prepare for her exam, and taking care of 3 young kids. She pulled it off in less than a year. Throughout my life, she continually embodied this ideal: work hard and work diligently and the rewards will come. Another important value I've learned from my mother is tenacity. You don't always get what you want the first time around. It's important to rebound from stumbles, and to try again. Throughout life's ups and downs, my mother has shown grace, strength, and the ability to get up and try again.

How has your mother supported your journey as an entrepreneur? 

My mother has supported me in numerous ways, but the one that has been most important is the one that's hardest to quantify: through prayers and faith. I'm a spiritual person, and I believe that God has a higher plan/purpose for our lives. When you are trying to start something - a business, school, a new project - it's so easy to get caught up in it. It's easy to tie your personal self-worth and esteem in your present circumstance and whether your current project is succeeding. My mother constantly reminds me to keep the bigger picture in mind, to trust in the larger plan for my life. Knowing that she is praying for me makes me feel stronger no matter what trials come. 

What is the most important lesson she has taught you?

There is no substitute for hard work. 


Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ope! Your mother's work ethic and tenacity inspire us all and we wish her a very happy Mother's Day. 

How does your mother inspire you to do great things? 

- SJ

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