For over 20 years, Anita Charlot has focused on employee/employer relationships, dating, interpersonal relationships, and marriage coaching. And while there will always be an aspect of my business that touches on these areas as a woman in business, the time has come for her to marry her metaphysical self with her corporate experience to heal corporate America.
“As black people in business, particularly in corporate America, we have suffered and continue to suffer in various ways. Companies are building DEI programs without really understanding the experience of black people, our multigenerational trauma, and how that affects us while working while black,” says Anita.
In her studies and recent work on trauma, it has become more apparent to her how black people tend to brush things off or call them “issues” vs. acknowledging that what they have experienced IS trauma, multigenerational urban trauma, and corporate trauma. Hence, she has made It her mission to heal women of color in corporate America as a result of racial injustice
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Anita Charlot: I want to thank you for the invitation to be featured in ValientCEO.
I have made it my mission (as the Corporate Metaphysician™) to bring awareness and healing to black women (and other underrepresented communities); as a result of the damaging effects of toxic corporate trauma, help increase their confidence and leadership skills, and be the “safe black woman” to teach our white allies how to ACTivate Your Privilege™!
This is accomplished in several ways: through my social media presence, working with me one-on-one in my personalized coaching sessions, Conscious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting with companies and organizations, and via my company Relationship Architect Academy through workshops, masterclasses, retreats, and keynote speeches for organizations and corporations.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Anita Charlot: Businesses can thrive by becoming more conscious about what their clients, customers, and employees really want or desire to have vs. only what’s best for the bottom line.
They can also better ensure their marketing campaigns are not offensive and that ALL of their employees feel safe bringing their authentic selves into the office. Paying lip service to their employees of color about how much they care and stand with them during times of civil unrest but not making real and transformative change around their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts will no longer work.
I have learned that there will be times when the “moves that I need to make” as a business owner and IN my business may not be the most comfortable but will eventually be the most rewarding for me and those I serve. Sometimes, you have to have your world shaken up before finding your true calling, and I’m so grateful this was my experience!
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Anita Charlot: I would like to see businesses focus more on their human capital, the people of color, and other underrepresented communities.
I would advise businesses to stop trying to heal the problem of systemic oppression in the workplace with white, heterosexual leaders heading up their DEI efforts.
Companies with white leaders leading DEI efforts without the right black consulting firm, black advisor, or other underrepresented communities on their teams are missing the mark. While these leaders may have the best intentions, they do not have the “lived experience” to draw from. My white friend and “ally student” said it best, “I get to put this DEI project on the shelf until I have the energy to deal with it, while you don’t have that luxury; you’re black every day!”
You also have to be careful about hiring black consultants or companies that are afraid to challenge you or your assumptions on what you think would be the best way to approach your DEI program. There are things you need to be able to identify ahead of time when interviewing to determine if they are the right fit for the direction of your organization.
Without this, you are simply checking your “DEI box.” And in many cases, you are causing more harm than good, inflicting more trauma than these employees had before while at the same time opening your company up to reputational and financial risk.
It’s time to do better.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Anita Charlot: 2020 was a rough year for me as a black woman. With the murder of George Floyd, the civil unrest that ensued, and the lockdown due to COVID, focusing on dating and relationships seemed so insignificant.
2020 and 2021, I began the inner work to decide whether I wanted to run a company or leave a legacy. I decided to leave a legacy. As I looked at the focus of my business, I asked myself a series of questions. How could I talk about dating and relationships when I no longer felt safe leaving my home? When I didn’t know whether or not my sons or daughters would make it home safely? How could people even think about dating during a pandemic? What were my clients truly focused on? What was coming up for them?
I was also in the process of taking a trauma-informed certification class to add to my offerings for my clients. Little did I know that this training would blow the lid off my own trauma in both my personal and professional worlds.
The more I dove into my trauma, the more I uncovered. What worked in the past was no longer viable for the community I served or for me as a coach. I needed to address the community at the core.
So, I decided to shift the focus on my business from personal relationships to that of what I could speak to and had experienced firsthand, corporate trauma as a black woman, and set out on the journey to becoming the Corporate Metaphysician™ to heal the heart of corporate America. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in Metaphysical Psychology.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Anita Charlot: I can share with you the best advice I received at the beginning of the pandemic… “Make sure your systems are in place to run your business completely online.”
Since my business is an online business, I was prepared, for the most part. I only had a few things to tweak vs. others that only had a brick-and-mortar business. This saved me from downtime due to the need to build an online presence.
I am improving upon those systems this year and automating in every area possible.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Anita Charlot: I expect remote work to continue, opening the world to job seekers everywhere. As a former single mom with limited income, working remotely and making my own schedule would have allowed me to save money and spend more quality time with my children. I expect this trend to continue.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Anita Charlot: I spend, on average, 9-11 hours per day; I am a dual-preneur; I have my own company while working full time.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Anita Charlot: I have a very small team, and my team must understand my vision for the company and my why. My team needs to know my life story, and they need to be able to empathize with what I went through so that they can have the same empathy for that of my clients.
My role as a coach is to share stories of my transformation. I begin with a problem or experience that I had, and I share with them how I “grew through it” so that they can see how they can grow through it as well.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Anita Charlot: A real challenge is the creation of Conscious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs that do more harm than good, as some organizations are not yet ready to face their truth. As well as individual coaching programs led by people of color to help white people uncover their biases, have a safe space to ask clarifying questions, and be a source of support and accountability while they become true allies.
The only way to grow more conscious as an individual leader or an organization is to have the hard conversations, be willing to be uncomfortable, and expect greater things out of your leadership, even if that means challenging their personal biases.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Anita Charlot: This year, I am most interested in learning more about how to partner with conscious organizations or organizations that would like to become conscious that are seriously looking to:
- Learn how to build a “safe” working environment for their employees from underrepresented communities,
- Create training and mentoring programs to help develop the skill sets of said communities,
- Pull back the curtain on their top leadership’s unconscious and conscious bias to change the organization from the top down.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Anita Charlot: Absolutely! I think the leadership at some companies feel that they are doing what needs to be done. This can be both conscious and unconscious; if you have never been in an oppressive position, you do not have the lived experience to draw on.
Also, if they do not have the right consultants or advisors on your leadership and DEI teams, they have no one to keep them honest, hold them accountable, or call them out on the privilege they cannot see.
As mentioned above, I think leadership needs to step up and hire the right consultant, company, or Corporate Metaphysician to come in, “perform an exam,” and then give them a prescription to “heal the heart” of their companies to create more Conscious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Anita Charlot: It would be the ability to walk into a company in my white lab coat (cape optional), quickly identify the trauma that their employees have experienced at the hands of unconscious leadership, write a prescription to follow, and then return for a follow-up visit with the company to recognize that ALL trauma had been healed and the company was now a safe place for all.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Anita Charlot: Success in 2022 is being in the right rooms, having honest conversations with the right people, and helping companies move in the right direction for all underrepresented communities.
It also means ending this year having touched the lives of as many black women as possible to heal their hearts, increase their confidence and leadership skills, and work with white leaders and organizations that genuinely want to indeed ACTivate Your Privilege!™ to create a safe(r) work environment for all!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Anita Charlot for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Anita Charlot or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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