Charlene Walters: “Educate yourself during your downtime”

Educate yourself during your downtime. It’s your opportunity to master a new language, get virtual painting or guitar lessons, find out about a different industry, or soak in knowledge from experts. Master your inner student to learn new skills and broaden your expertise. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. […]

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Educate yourself during your downtime. It’s your opportunity to master a new language, get virtual painting or guitar lessons, find out about a different industry, or soak in knowledge from experts. Master your inner student to learn new skills and broaden your expertise.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlene Walters.

Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D., is an entrepreneurship coach, business and branding mentor, trainer and author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur. She serves as a mentor on Entrepreneur magazine’s “Ask an Expert” forum and through her own consulting business (Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD, LLC), is featured among other CEOs, influencers and celebrities on the BAM Network and was selected as one of 150 Marketers to Follow by Rubicly. Charlene developed a digital entrepreneurship MBA program and is an entrepreneur who enjoys combining her knowledge and love of marketing and business strategy with her passion for innovation and desire to help others succeed.

Charlene also wrote a memoir about overcoming tragedy/loss and moving forward in life based on her own personal experience (pre-publication). As part of that, she serves as a speaker and mentor to others, and writes and contributes to numerous publications on business and motivational topics. Charlene also writes a blog called Entrepreneurship, Life Enthusiasm & Energizing Your Brand and has taught hundreds of business, marketing and entrepreneurship courses and workshops for businesses and universities.

Charlene is also a busy single mom currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina with her two beautiful daughters.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Absolutely. I’d be happy to. I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Miami as soon as I graduated with an undergraduate degree in English (leaving the cold weather behind). I started my career in sales and marketing and really enjoyed the hustle of making deals and matching customers with products which led to my growing love of business. I decided to pursue my MBA in management. From there, I went on to earn my Ph.D. in marketing. I continued to move on professionally to other positions in marketing and higher education before eventually creating a digital entrepreneurship MBA program. I loved the energy of it- it was wonderful to be able to work with business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. I also began to do some mentoring with Entrepreneur’s “Ask an Expert” Platform” and through my own consulting business. Around the same time, I also began to present more workshops and corporate training as well. From there, I fulfilled a life-long dream and published my first book, too. It’s been an extremely rewarding career so far and the best is yet to come.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

I’ve had so many interesting experiences and have met a lot of wonderful people. Something that has definitely been a career highlight is getting an endorsement for my book from Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. I really admire her career and am so honored that she was willing to give me an endorsement.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

The most exciting thing that I am working on right now is the publication of my new book- Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur. It is about to come out 2/23 so it is at the forefront of my excitement at the moment. 😊 You can check out the book trailer if you’re interested (I think it’s kind of motivating). After that, I will turn my attention towards my second and third books, and am also planning to launch a podcast too. I’ve been doing some great virtual events and trainings as well. These activities are helping people by giving them tips and tools to improve their mindsets and their business success. More to come.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am grateful to many different people who have helped me become the person and business professional that I am today. It is hard to name just one individual as I feel as if there were multiple people who’ve guided me and given me encouragement along the path to where I am. These people range from teachers and professors to different supervisors, mentors, friends and colleagues. We can learn something from everyone we interact with so listen up and show gratitude. The world is full of amazing people.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Just now as I am writing this, my daughter is texting me from the other room. The texts read, “Hey mom can u bring me the paper I printed. I need it. Mom. Hello?” So, I stopped what I was doing to bring her the paper from the printer which is located in my office. Another series of texts earlier this week read, “Mom, I’m on a call where I have to recite a poem so don’t be loud cause I have to have my mic on. Mom. I need u to turn the air off. It’s very loud. Quickly. OK?” I’m sure these scenarios sound very funny and familiar to many of you. The biggest problem that I’ve experienced during the pandemic is in balancing the needs of my family with the things that I am doing for my business- competing priorities. But when there is a will (and a need), there is always a way.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It all comes down to scheduling and communication. I communicate a lot and encourage my children to communicate with me as well. When I need quiet for a meeting or a podcast interview, I let them know not to disturb me during the specified time. When they need the same, they tell me. Generally, if they see my office door closed, they will pause outside. If I am tied up, I will motion for them to come back later. We work together as a team and that is the best way to approach life during the pandemic both at work and at home. Be a flexible and empathetic support system!

Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

The biggest challenge that I am facing as a woman in business during the pandemic is the tendency to overwork with regards to my business. I understand the importance of work-life balance, but since outside activities are more limited, I have had to get creative to find recreational activities outside of the home. It’s also been a bit more challenging to keep the children from getting bored.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I’ve had to really pay attention to my mindset. If I find that I am getting too intense, or too stressed out, I nudge myself to take a break or plan a fun activity with my children. I am also a stickler about adhering to my fitness routine and getting up and moving around. It’s essential to give yourself breaks throughout the day when you are working from home so remind yourself to do so. And make sure your family is doing the same.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

The best advice I can give is communicate, schedule and constantly strive for balance, not only for yourself but for your family as well. Make sure that you are putting yourself at the top of your list. The happier, more well-rested and balanced you are, the better you’ll be able to take care of your family and your business.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

Yes, it can be challenging. I think there should be a good balance between giving everyone their own space and also scheduling family activities. Since we are staying inside more, we can get on each other’s nerves, so we all need our own quiet spaces and working spots, but we also need to try to spend quality time together as a family or it will all sort of blend into one continuous day. Families can have fun with movie nights, playing games, cooking and baking together, and getting outdoors for some fresh air activities.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”?

My 5 reasons to be hopeful during the Corona crisis (plus one bonus) are:

  1. We have so much more time to get things done. Do you want to start a business? Great. You now have plenty of time to plan for it. Do you have a strong desire to organize your closets? Have at it. It’s your opportunity to get everything just the way you want it. I even finished one of my books during the pandemic because I had that extra time. Use yours wisely.
  2. Extra bonding with our family during the pandemic has been a really great thing. We can have more in-depth conversations, spend quality time together and get to know each other even more.
  3. We make our own reality. So, if we are lonely, we can schedule virtual events and opportunities for interaction. There might even be more chances to interact now than before if we get creative about it.
  4. We are going to come out of this stronger than ever with many new opportunities. Now’s the time to start planting those seeds.
  5. Think of all the money you’re saving by not going out as often. Use that money to invest in other opportunities that you can take advantage of when things bounce back.
  6. Educate yourself during your downtime. It’s your opportunity to master a new language, get virtual painting or guitar lessons, find out about a different industry, or soak in knowledge from experts. Master your inner student to learn new skills and broaden your expertise.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Look for virtual meeting opportunities for them if they are feeling lonely, or schedule activities where they can get some fresh air and exercise. Set up safe, socially distanced activities, too. Additionally, if they are really struggling, look for virtual support groups or online therapy sessions so they can discuss their feelings with a professional or others who are feeling similarly.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have so many life lesson quotes that I love, and I like to mix it up. Since this article is for working moms, here’s one for them that I think is critical for women. “Know your own value.” If you don’t understand your own value and all those great things that you have to offer, no one else will recognize it either. If you are in a situation where you are not being treated well or appreciated, look for something else. You can do better! Stand up for yourself and realize your own worth. If you need a reminder, create a list of all of your accomplishments and refer back to it when your confidence wanes. I promise you that you deserve even more than you think.

How can our readers follow you online?

I want to thank you, and your readers, for taking the time to learn more about me. I am so appreciative and humbled.

They can further follow me on my website/blog, by reading my book Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur or by connecting with me on social media:

Twitter- @CWaltersPhD

Instagram– @CharleneWaltersPhD

LinkedIn- @Charlene Walters, PhD

Clubhouse- @CWaltersPhd

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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