Mahlena-Rae Johnson: Finding her fertile ground as a Black expat creative in Canada


Mahlena-Rae Johnson on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast


This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Mahlena-Rae Johnson. Mahlena was born in Arkansas but grew up on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mahlena is a speaker, comedian, author, and communication expert for introverts.

Mahlena-Rae Johnson at 5 years old

After graduating from the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University, earning her MBA at the University of Southern California, and working a variety of jobs, she felt her potential was being wasted in Los Angeles. She discovered other Black American women were living their best lives outside of the United States. So she and her husband began looking for the best place to relocate, and then the 2016 election happened. Their move plans accelerated dramatically.


In 2018 they shed most of their belongings and moved to Canada with their kids to start their lives over completely. As we discussed on the podcast, racism and sexism of course still exist in Canada…but Mahlena and her family are happier, healthier, and less stressed out and will soon become Canadian citizens. Mahlena actually found living out of a suitcase to be freeing.

Mahlena-Rae speaks!

We talked about living in Canada, how she serves introverts, her decision to adopt, and dream boards…plus a little Grey’s Anatomy.


If you'd like to create your own dream board, check out these articles Mahlena wrote about dream boards:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode.


Marie Gettel-Gilmartin, founder and principal of Fertile Ground Communications LLC, is a writer and marketing communications consultant who loves to take the pain and stress out of writing for her clients. She specializes in making the complex clear, using dynamic, accessible language to explain and communicate important issues. She positions her clients as experts in their fields and helps them communicate about pressing issues. Writing communications that boost employee engagement and thought leadership, she also coaches leaders and executives on how to strengthen communications and leadership. She loves to connect people and resources or solve seemingly impossible problems.


As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police.


Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

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