Oloruntomi’s work as a professional educator began directly after her college graduation when she joined Teach for America and settled in the classroom teaching 7th-10th grades at Timbuktu Academy, an African-centered charter school on Detroit’s Eastside. She credits her students for deepening her self-awareness and developing her orientation as a liberatory educator.
“I was less than a month out of Spelman’s gates when the urgency for societal change became crystal clear to me. But when I met my students, I was flabbergasted! It was like living in a time capsule. Every day I met myself, my brothers and my mother more deeply than I ever had before. Every day I was confronted with parts of me I'd seemingly 'forgotten'. That’s when I knew just how detrimental it was to be living and leading in a world that lacks authentic spaces for individuals to interrogate, deconstruct and heal from the impacts of spiritual genocide, internalized oppression, structural racism and White Supremacy.”
Following her time in the classroom, she became an Instructional Coach and Program Designer with a specific focus in the development of social justice educators. Her lived experiences combined with her work in the public school system led to her designing and facilitating professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion within various educational contexts. This path deepened in 2016 when she founded Cultivating Liberation, an independent consulting firm dedicated to restoring humanity from the inside out. Through the company's vision, Oloruntomi partnered with institutions to provide targeted support in racial identity development, cultural competence and leadership development.
Throughout her professional success, Oloruntomi developed a sincere appreciation of her Nigerian heritage and ancestral assignment to provide a space of affirmation, exploration and intergenerational healing, specifically for women and girls within the African Diaspora. Her own decolonization, healing and self-acceptance led to the creation of her flagship curriculum, which serves as the epicenter of her work with women. This lifestyle orientation allows Black women to lovingly resolve generational traumas, reclaim their humanity and fulfill the highest potential of their innate gifts so they may walk the path of their destiny, without compromising their well-being.
In 2017, Soar Higher You Never End, Inc. (SHYNE) was founded with the purpose of becoming a sustainable institution for healing, liberation and leadership development with women and girls of the African Diaspora. Since its inception, Iya Oloruntomi has envisioned, coordinated and facilitated experiences that center intergenerational healing, decolonization and ancestral relationship building for over 200 women and families. SHYNE’s retreats, cohorts, curriculum, support structures and resources promote holistic empowerment so that women may unlearn dehumanizing paradigms and practices, experience freedom and awaken their greatest potential.
Oloruntomi envisions a world eradicated of suffering and centered on truth and love. She considers it a blessing to live on divine assignment where Spirit is at the core. She stands firm in the belief that women are the chosen vessels who will initiate the radical transformation our world needs and will teach our girls to do the same. All this, with the affirmation, support and guidance of their ancestors. Her honorific title, Iya, is the Yoruba word for “mother”. It spans beyond a profession. It is a calling that is ever present in her life’s walk through nurturing herself, her family and others by embodying divine love. Iya continues to assist others as they journey the path of remembering Alafia (peace, good health, overall well-being) for themselves and their lineage, and ultimately, so that they are equipped to fulfill the destinies they have chosen.