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'Mama Tot' makes it her mission to bring love and compassion to the internet and it's so wholesome

Even in the midst of her own tragedy she keeps bringing light.

Mama Tot; TikTok; Ophelia Nichols
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Mama Tot brings love and compassion to the internet.

Sometimes when you're having a bad day it helps to have a warm voice telling you that everything will be OK.

Millions of people have been getting little pep talks from a maternal voice on TikTok, Ophelia Nichols, better known as "Mama Tot." Nichols has been bringing sunshine to people's algorithm for a while now with her signature greeting, "Hey, my little tater tots." The mom of four adult children has built her platform on kindness and compassion. Anytime social media users see Nichols' face pop up on their screen, they know they're in for a dose of sweetness.


Some people have been so taken aback by the Alabama woman's sweet nature that they have asked her if she was just pretending to be that nice. Mama Tot isn't a stranger to those sorts of questions and always responds with her signature brand of kindness, explaining about her difficult upbringing and desire to just be a good human.

Recently, Nichols' "tater tots" rallied around her after the news of her youngest child being tragically murdered. In a truly admirable video, Mama Tot called for compassion toward the other family involved, though she was hurting.

When someone is in need, Nichols does her best to help however she can and her followers come along for the ride, gleaning their own message from her words.

When a young mom was struggling with feeling like she just couldn't get things together, Nichols sent her a message via video saying, "What we're supposed to do is raise our babies and our children the best way we know how." She continued, "If you're giving your babies all of you and the best of you, then your best will always be good enough for them."

The message was so encouraging that the mom she made the video for commented, "Thank you Mama Tot, everything I needed to hear 💗 such big shoes to fill, I want to be everything she deserves."

@shoelover99

#stitch with @Leah Rae

These messages from Mama Tot aren't always specifically to any one person, but they're certainly helpful to many people that come across her page. The southern mom has amassed more than 9 million followers and more than 279 million likes, all due to her bubbly personality and ability to know just what people need to hear.

The internet can be a cruel place, but Nichols has made her mark by remaining kind and giving sage advice, including explaining financial abuse to her followers and how to stash away money to escape a financially abusive relationship. While Nichols is kind, she does not put up with bullies. Her "tater tots" can learn from her ability to set boundaries, take accountability for missteps and remain kind while doing so.

Nichols' comments section is always filled with people expressing their gratitude for her encouraging words and the light she brings to their day. On one of Nichols' videos checking in on her followers, a commenter, Jess, wrote, "a bright spot in a dark day🥰bless you mama tot." While another commenter, Hannah Perry, on the same video said, "You give me so much hope in the world of darkness."

If you happen to stumble across one of Mama Tot's videos, check out her page for a while, you'll be glad you did.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

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