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#HerStory: Finding Purpose in Toledo with Liz

Photograph of Liz at Maddie and Bella sitting in front of her Apple Macbook with a latte to her right. She sits in front of the window working away.
Photograph of Liz at Maddie and Bella

Hi! My name is Liz Mohler. I’m still on my journey into the unknown but what I know about now is that I love what I do, who I am, and the ones that continue to inspire me. I take pride in being a Filipina but I’m also mixed with various races from Irish to German. My mother came from the Philippines to the United States at the age of 19 and my dad grew up in Toledo, Ohio. Growing up I lived with my mother however, in my teen years I decided that I wanted to live in Toledo with my dad. It wasn’t too familiar and I remember feeling pretty scared. Honestly, it felt a bit like a culture shock because in my previous hometown we had a Filipino community. I remember my mother’s friends would come together to roll Lumpia, talk about their kids in Tagalog, and have the time of their lives singing karaoke. I can already hear my mother singing, “The Power of Love” by Céline Dion, now as we speak.

Moving from that life to Toledo felt like a piece of me was left behind and throughout the years I was waiting for that void to be filled. The culture and background of the family I have here in Toledo are entirely different. Family get-togethers never felt the same for me and that sense of familiarity being dismissed was an absolutely weird feeling. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, but simply something I missed. My family in Toledo is deeply rooted in German heritage; growing up visiting my dad I would hear about some of my family members being involved with the American-Turners, Toledo Swiss Singers, and the German American Festival. I remember occasionally attending events related to those organizations.

It took me some years to get acclimated but through that journey, I found so much love and inspiration from this community. Most importantly throughout my continuing journey, I found a purpose that always led me to my passion for creativity. If you’re wondering what my purpose is, I’ll have to tell you how I found it. It all started when I went to the University of Toledo as a Marketing Major and worked for the Catharine S. Eberly Center. My boss then was Dr. Shanda Gore and honestly, I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking at a celebrity doing amazing things in the community. I was completely CLUELESS about the nonprofit world. Before this, I was in my own world with my friends, family, and an artist. So all this activism, using your voice, and creating change in communities was completely new to me. This wasn’t something my parents taught me and this unique window of endless paths opened up, stirring up my brain on how I can make an impact in my community.

Thereafter I kept volunteering and meeting people in Toledo whom I felt so inspired by. I mostly used what I learned and my creative skills as a tool to help non-profit organizations; however, I still wasn’t sure what the nonprofit world was like and how to navigate making meaningful connections in the community. It was until I met Nina Corder, the Managing Director of Women of Toledo, that a simple conversation full of questions and curiosity led to endless opportunities to expand my knowledge, experience a community of badass women, and make those meaningful connections that I really hoped for. Being around such an advocating and inspiring group of women really pushed me to be confident in the work that I do as a creative and to be persistent with what I believe in. Combining confidence and belief really pushed me to start my own creative agency, CHIKA creative, not only to be creative, but to create opportunities for people that are passionate about influencing businesses, institutions, and corporations to go toward a more sustainable path through design. Whether it’s influencing businesses to go from plastic to glass or reducing packaging materials. When I started my agency it felt like I finally found my purpose however, I wouldn't have gotten to where I am now without the individuals I met on my path.

Liz Mohler (Left), Ambrea Mikolajczyk (Middle), Sena Mourad-Friedman (Right)

I will tell you though if I can give any advice to any women in Toledo is to really connect with Women of Toledo. There’s truly something special about attending their programs, getting involved, and making new connections with this organization. Their programs are energizing, helping them move forward is rewarding, and you really cannot beat the diversity this group holds. Also, if you want to continuously be inspired each day Nina’s dedication to growth, change, and empowerment of women and the youth in the community is incredible. Your mind would be blown away if you actually sat and watched how hard she works every single day to ensure that we’re advocated for, that change happens, and that opportunities are continuously presented.

I hope this was a great read for you, and I really enjoyed sharing past moments with you. Cheers!

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