Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD is a business mentor, consultant and entrepreneurship coach (www.charlenewalters.com) who enjoys working one-on-one with a variety of entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals. She is also a corporate trainer and the author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur (McGraw Hill). Additionally, Charlene is a featured expert on QUORA’s Business, Education and Society & Culture spaces and a TV host on Launch with Charlene Walters (D B & A Television) now streaming on Roku and Amazon Fire.
Charlene previously developed and led a Digital Entrepreneurship MBA program, teaches business and entrepreneurship courses for the University of Connecticut and the University of Alaska, and serves on the advisory board for CCEI (The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UCONN). She is also featured among other influencers and experts on the BAM Network, is a frequent media contributor and guest (Entrepreneur, Forbes, Thrive Global, Apple News, CNBC Make It, The LISTTV, etc.) and was identified as one of 150 Marketers to Follow by Rubicly.
Charlene provides consulting and project-based services (business, higher education, writing/publishing, curriculum and entrepreneurship), one-on-one mentoring (for entrepreneurs, writers, mindset and personal branding), and corporate training/workshops (on work life balance/integration, remote and hybrid teams, innovation, mindset, leadership, high performing teams, intrapreneurship, entrepreneurial thinking, women in business, and optimizing culture). Contact her for a personalized proposal.
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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.
Charlene Walters: Hi. I’m Charlene Walters, I am a business mentor, consultant and entrepreneurship coach (www.charlenewalters.com) who enjoys working one-on-one with a variety of entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals. I am also a corporate trainer and the author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur (McGraw Hill). Additionally, I’m a featured expert on QUORA’s Business, Education and Society & Culture spaces and a TV host on Launch with Charlene Walters (D B & A Television) now streaming on Roku and Amazon Fire.
I previously developed and led a Digital Entrepreneurship MBA program, teach business and entrepreneurship courses for the University of Connecticut and the University of Alaska, and serve on the advisory board for CCEI (The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UCONN). I am also featured among other influencers and experts on the BAM Network, and a frequent media contributor and guest (Entrepreneur, Forbes, Thrive Global, Apple News, CNBC Make It, The LISTTV, etc.).
I provide consulting and project-based services (business, higher education, writing/publishing, curriculum. and entrepreneurship), one-on-one mentoring (for entrepreneurs, writers, mindset and personal branding), and corporate training/workshops (on work life balance/integration, remote and hybrid teams, innovation, mindset, leadership, high performing teams, intrapreneurship, entrepreneurial thinking, women in business, and optimizing culture). Feel free to contact me for a personalized proposal.
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?
Charlene Walters: It has been a rocky few years for everyone, entrepreneurs particularly, but I’ve found that it’s critical to keep reinventing your business and adapting to changing consumer wants and needs, particularly now when they have been fluctuating so rapidly. If you listen to your customers and pivot with them, you’ll be able to better serve them and meet their needs. That’s been an important practice and lesson for me.
I’ve also found that you must just keep moving forward and trying new things in your business despite whatever obstacles or setbacks you hit. Entrepreneurship is not easy (or for the faint of heart), but you can and will remain successful with the right mindset and attitude. Keep moving ahead!
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Charlene Walters: I would advise businesses to listen to their customers and stay on top of changing market conditions and trends. Consumers have evolved and are looking for new options now as we continue to move out from under the shadow of the pandemic. We all continue to grow personally and professionally too. What meant something to consumers two years ago may not be the case today and vice versa. It’s our job to keep our finger on the pulse and adapt.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Charlene Walters: It goes without saying but the pandemic enabled me to do more things virtually- consulting, training, speaking and collaborations. I’ve always worked remotely so it was nice to see this practice become more widespread. Now, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic, there is a nice hybrid mix of virtual and in-person which suits my business well.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Charlene Walters: Ha! Well, that would’ve been nice. I think it all worked out for me like it was supposed to, though. I would say that the pandemic helped me strengthen the foundation of my business and fine-tune my plans. That’s something that’s better learned on the job than conveyed from someone else. Time and experience are the best teachers for entrepreneurs. I’m no exception.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Charlene Walters: I think we will continue to see a blend. Although many online experiences surged and stuck during the pandemic, they have also slowed and, in some cases, even stalled since. As people, we want a mix of both (virtual and in-person). A hybrid approach gives us the best of both worlds- convenience, flexibility and social connection.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Charlene Walters: Likely too many! But I try to be very mindful about work-life integration particularly since I have a home office. I also adjust according to the type of work that I feel I would be most effective at during a particular time. If you pay attention to your schedule and energy, you can maximize your time and productivity.
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?
Charlene Walters: When I am talking to a group of corporate employees, entrepreneurs, or other business professionals, I tell stories about my own experience as an employee, entrepreneur and person. I want people to know that we are all human and have similar experiences. We all have highs and lows and moments where we doubt ourselves, but it’s important to keep going after our goals and to support each other. My stories revolve around those themes.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Charlene Walters: I think that one of the challenges for all business owners right now is trying to plan for the future when everything keeps changing. It’s hard to tell what’s coming around the corner for us next. I feel that diversification and having multiple income streams can help mitigate that uncertainty and give us wiggle room when dealing with the unknown.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Charlene Walters: In 2022, I’ve been most interested in listening to other thought leaders about various business topics and gaining information about tools that can enhance the remote and hybrid work experience for companies. I’m motivated to keep growing and learning as we change as a society (and to share that information with others for the greater good).
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?
Charlene Walters: Yes, I think the Great Resignation was a giant wakeup call for many organizations. People do leave for a variety of reasons, but it generally has to do with a lack of control over their career and the feeling of being undervalued for the most part.
Companies must now take a greater interest in supporting their employees and giving them the tools that they need to be successful (personally and professionally). This can include training for work-life integration and thriving as a remote or hybrid employee. Times have changed and we have to make our employees feel valued, supported and appreciated in order to keep them and allow them to thrive.
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?
Charlene Walters: A business superpower? Hmm. I guess to always be in the right place at the right time! Wouldn’t that be amazing?
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Charlene Walters: Success for me means to thrive professionally, grow personally, and to be surrounded by happiness and love. In 2022, I will keep going after joy, positive experiences (for myself and my family), and professional opportunities that are meaningful to me and that help others at the same time.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Charlene Walters 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 Charlene Walters or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.