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“Bad habits are hard to break, it takes desire, discipline, and accountability”, Coleen Otero and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Maintaining my mental health is extremely important. We have a mental health coach as part of our CEO Chicks team, to ensure that all of us and our members know how to manage stress appropriately. I also allow myself to take mental health breaks to avoid being overwhelmed. In my book, I mention mental strength […]

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Maintaining my mental health is extremely important. We have a mental health coach as part of our CEO Chicks team, to ensure that all of us and our members know how to manage stress appropriately. I also allow myself to take mental health breaks to avoid being overwhelmed. In my book, I mention mental strength as part of my M-Factor that consists of four areas all entrepreneurs should take into consideration prior to launching a business or brand.


As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Coleen Otero.

She is a beauty expert, branding strategist, mentor, motivational speaker, author, and all-around entrepreneur. She built a team of successful sisters in business who help fellow women entrepreneurs collaborate, create and dominate to build lucrative brands. She candidly shares her lessons learned to empower and educate women business owners through her CEO Chicks agency, network and nonprofit.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Jamaica, raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the youngest of three sisters. I was the first to come to the states with my mother at the age of one. We stayed with my aunt until my mother found work and my father, a police officer in Jamaica, could come along with my sisters to be with us. My parents came to the U.S. and started from scratch with their careers, schooling, etc… I was surrounded by family who wanted the best for me. You could say I was spoiled being the youngest, everyone looked out for me. I was very outspoken, loved to sing, dance, and eat. I am so grateful for my family unit; they are very much a part of my success to this day.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

I started doing hair at 12 years old with clients twice my age and was officially a full-time entrepreneur immediately following high school graduation as a licensed hair stylist. I did my own marketing and everything back then as well. It was then when I noticed that there were limited resources for entrepreneurs like myself and knew that I eventually wanted to be part of the solution in some way. When I started the CEO Chicks network four years ago, I was able to deliver on that goal and really help change the lives of many women entrepreneurs through our offerings and mentorship, and for that, I am thankful.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My parents! They work so hard on both career and family, they inspired me to want a family, a business, to travel, and work towards what I want.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mistake; however, I’d have to say the most interesting experience I’ve had along my journey was literally losing everything. After I transitioned from a successful career in the beauty industry, my husband and I got into real estate and owned several properties prior to the recession of 2008. We ended up losing everything from properties, to cars and even so-called friends and had to start from scratch. We went from feeling like we were on top of the world, to the bottom of the barrel, it was such a humbling experience that taught me so much about business. Once I slowly started to rebuild and rebrand myself, I aspired to be the resource that my younger self needed and was motivated to help others avoid the mistakes or missteps I’d experienced. CEO Chicks has accomplished that immensely over the last four years, and this is only the beginning!

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

The first thing I’d say to a young person who aspires to become a successful entrepreneur is to know exactly what they have to offer and be able to clearly communicate that to their target audience. Second, there are four areas that I highly recommend they take into consideration before developing a brand. I call it the M-Factor, and it is as follows:

∙ Magnetism — Are they able to attract and charm people? You must have something that makes your target audience gravitate toward what you have to offer.

∙ Manpower — Are they capable of identifying and/or hiring the right team to cover off on areas where they aren’t the strongest? Staying in your lane and knowing how to delegate is critical.

∙ Money Flow — Are they financially prepared to go the long-haul? Several people fail in business simply because they don’t have the cash flow to effectively start or run a business.

∙ Mental Strength — Is their emotional intelligence and ability to manage stress in a place where they can handle everything that life and business brings their way? This is one of the most important because it can directly impact health and ultimately determines our duration and quality of life.

I touch on all of this and more in my book, Brand To Bucks: A No-Nonsense Guide to Building a Six Figure Brand.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Absolutely! The BIBLE. My family did not go to church often outside of holidays like Christmas and/or Easter, but my best friend in high school did and she introduced me to her faith at the age of 16. It changed my life forever. My faith grew and my boldness did too.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Relationships are like currency; you can’t withdraw what you didn’t invest.” I use this quote frequently because I am often amazed at how so many can want a lavish lifestyle, a large home, fancy car, but don’t like people. They want all these liabilities without the greatest assets, which to me, is people. Our net worth is directly affected by our network, who we know, the experience they carry, the wisdom they share with us, their talents, it all contributes to our success.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We have so much in store for our CEO Chicks! We recently relaunched our extremely popular CEO Chick Chats via IG Live and are bringing a line-up of amazing guests to join us for candid conversations about business and life. You don’t have to be a member to join the chats or access our Info Bar which consists of hours of digital content and access to our private Facebook forum that offers invaluable insight and resources from myself and our amazing team of coaches. CEO Chick annual memberships offer even more value with 1:1 coaching sessions, weekly masterclasses, virtual support and community, and complete transparency, as we don’t believe in holding anything back!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

Maintaining my mental health is extremely important. We have a mental health coach as part of our CEO Chicks team, to ensure that all of us and our members know how to manage stress appropriately. I also allow myself to take mental health breaks to avoid being overwhelmed. In my book, I mention mental strength as part of my M-Factor that consists of four areas all entrepreneurs should take into consideration prior to launching a business or brand.

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

1. Meditation time — Much needed time to work on using our thought life. Thoughts become things, wherever we invest our time mentally we will see manifestation. So, I love to spend time focusing on my declarations, my mantras, my beliefs. I literally have sticky notes on the wall by my bed that I recite daily. I want to not just say it but believe it. I want to get it embedded in my subconscious mind. Things like, “My team executes every job with excellence.” or “My book is a New York Times Best Seller” These are comments I say over and over.

2. Journaling — This is very therapeutic for me; writing helps me to clear my thoughts and to move my emotions. When I am upset, I write. When I am happy, I write.

3. Traveling — I love a change of scenery. My husband and I take date trips, take our kids on stay cations, we love to create new experiences for our family. It’s how I reward myself and my family for the sacrifices they make for my work life. It also gives me time to take my mind of work even if it is for 48 hours.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

I love vision boards and photo collages. Once I list my goals for the year, I find supporting images to create a vision board, I have done them digitally lately, and keep them on my cell phone.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

I like to give myself a change of scenery during moments where I really need to focus on something specific but for the most part I put my phone on do not disturb, set my atmosphere with music and snacks, and go to work!

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I do something every day that contributes to the future I want to have. One of the biggest habits I have is saving and investing, delayed gratification is the name of the long game.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

Bad habits are hard to break, it takes desire, discipline, and accountability. At times we need a change in our morning routines to start our day off differently and to create something new.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

I believe we should all always aim to be in a state of Flow. I realized that I had a gift and desire to empower others and was quite skilled in branding just by doing so much myself in the beginning. I matched that passion with my skillset to build a business that allows me to walk in my purpose, while continuing to challenge myself daily and enhance my craft. CEO Chicks is all about helping our members, and all women business owners find their state of Flow.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

When we see something negative on social media, post two things positive. I think there is more good in the world than bad, if we can be advocates for good news traveling fast I think we would be better off.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Michelle Obama, I feel like it would be the real, raw and transparent. Those conversations are the most helpful and insightful, we need more influencers that are willing to share the good and the bad, Michelle has always been unapologetically herself and I have admired that about her for years.

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