I’m Tonya.

I am a teacher and mentor to many, certified leadership and life coach, trusted advisor to executives, and an award-winning human resources executive. In my 20-plus years serving the talent force within large, high profile media corporations, my greatest sense of satisfaction has always come from helping individuals realize their potential and achieve their goals and dreams.

I believe we are all motivated to self-actualize; that is, we want to become all that we can be and live the lives we dream about. Abraham Maslow said, “What a man can be, he must be.” However, too often, people settle for far less. They listen to messages that limit their potential, or they spend their lives trying to please others or satisfy society’s definition of success. Instead of living their authentic lives and feeling happy and fulfilled, they experience a longing that never seems to be satisfied, a thirst for life that is never quenched.

There is a gulf between the lives they are living and the lives they dream of living. They reach a point when they think…

There has to be a better way.”

Sound familiar?

I am here to tell you that there is.
It’s called Your Aha! Life.
How do I know this?

I’ve been there.

Let me tell you a little about my journey to more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment.

Many years ago, I was an out-of-balance high achiever. I was busy checking off boxes, working full-time, attending courses in the evening, and trying to be a great wife and mother to two small children. I was my own version of a Superwoman. Instead of feeling accomplished, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and unfulfilled.

That’s when I decided to remove myself from the hamster wheel. I had an Aha! Moment. I realized that trying to accomplish an old goal just to be able to say I did it or to meet someone else’s definition of success would not lead me to a life of joy and fulfillment – the life I deserved. I made a promise to myself from that point on, I would do what “lights me up.” That is the work I do today.

The journey from thinking my achievements defined me and my worth to living a life that matters, is aligned with my innermost values, and that satisfies me at the soul level was not an easy one, but it has been worth it. You can experience your own version of Your Aha! Life too. It starts with getting to know yourself, your values, and what makes life meaningful and purposeful to you. Then, making choices that align with who you are, what you want, and what makes life worthwhile.

I receive such satisfaction knowing I help others achieve success in ways that matter most to them and that reflects the life they desire and are meant to live. This work lets me feel most alive.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

The quote by Mary Oliver changed my life when I heard it. I realized then that the Aha! Life is one of meaning and purpose. When we discover what lights us up and how we can contribute to others and the world in a meaningful way, we find true fulfillment.

My answer to her question: I want the world to know that I’m here, and I care. That’s why my work extends outward to help others believe in themselves and in the beauty of their dreams. That’s also why I’ve chosen to serve and contribute to organizations whose missions are to lift people higher and make a difference in the world.

I serve on several boards as noted in my bio. I am also proud to fund the Harris Family Opportunity Scholarship Endowment at the University of Georgia, the Tonya Harris Cornileus CJC Diversity in Communications Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Florida, and the Gwendolyn Pinkney Harris Scholarship Fund (in memory of my mother), along with other philanthropic endeavors. Knowing I am contributing to help others achieve their dreams and goals is deeply fulfilling.

Getting to Aha! Is not easy. It takes commitment. It takes letting go of old, unhelpful definitions of success and ways of being that no longer serve you. It takes courage. And it’s so worth it.

Only you can define your Aha! Life.

But you’re not alone in doing so.

We can do it together.


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