"...fantastic and powerful talk..."

IT'S CHOICE, NOT CHANCE,
THAT CHANGES YOUR LIFE!


"This keynote will impact how you approach your career,
your life, and the way you walk through the world."

Meet CHarlene

YOU ARE ENOUGH! Now Available!

From renowned businesswoman and communications visionary Charlene Wheeless comes an inspiring memoir about facing life’s struggles with unrelenting courage and strength. Part memoir, part motivational guide, and a clear roadmap for thriving in career and in life, YOU ARE ENOUGH! draws from Wheeless’s experiences climbing the corporate ladder and battling breast cancer to illustrate life lessons for others. Personal recollections are used to demonstrate that Black women have to contend with a glass ceiling and a concrete wall that makes it impossible even to see what lies on the other side, much less determine how to get there. While acknowledging that there's no single path around that wall, Wheeless shares advice on how she navigated the route herself. For Wheeless, this means busting up stereotypes, breaking down barriers, and flat-out refusing to be ignored, pigeonholed, or forgotten.
While YOU ARE ENOUGH! chronicles Charlene's fearless quest to be the best possible version of herself in every aspect of her life; her story is everyone's story regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. With raw honesty, blazing courage, and solution-driven sensibility, Charlene reminds us that we are enough!


"All those executives reading Isabel Wilkerson and Robin DiAngelo who are trying to understand why their black employees are so angry now need to add Charlene Wheeless to their bedside tables. Charlene is a “first Black woman to,” many times over. And while she isn’t a whiner and has no regrets, she offers a view of corporate America that will open your eyes. The fact that she had to confront cancer, as well, only adds to this mini-memoir’s power.” --Alan  Murray, CEO Fortune Magazine

HARDCOVER

May 11, 2021

order now on
Download Chapter 1 Now!

BOOK NOW to UNLEASH your
SUPERPOWER and THRIVE!

Here's What Others Have to Say...

“Every syllable of this talk rang of truth earned many times over…one of our participants blurted out that this virtual session was ‘like church,’ and immediately people piled on to upvote that statement.”

DAVID MURRAY
executive director, Professional Speechwriters Association, and author of An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half.

Here's What Others Have to Say...

Charlene is an excellent and engaging speaker.  Charlene possesses the confidence to challenge the status quo and propose constructive alternative viewpoints and approaches to challenges. This is not always easy to do, but it is a trait that sets Charlene apart, and one from which Bechtel has benefited."

Executive Leadership

Here's What Others Have to Say...

Charlene did a brilliant job planning for and facilitating a courageous conversation on race for a group of business and medical leaders convened by our firm.  She prepared the panelists well, and brought out powerful stories and insights. She’s adept at covering potentially charged issues with sensitivity and grace, making everyone feel comfortable, even when covering uncomfortable topics."

Here's What Others Have to Say...

"We were thrilled to have Charlene with us to hear her riveting stories and thought-provoking insights. We are all better for having met her."

Here's What Others Have to Say...

Charlene combines business acumen and strategic thought to bring forward the best solutions to business challenges. I could always depend on Charlene to come up with a unique communication solution to a vexing business problem. She was a dynamic partner."

Paul V. Lombardi
CEO, DynCorp (Retired)

Here's What Others Have to Say...

Your talk was very meaningful to me.  I related to you as a mom, as a writer, and as a woman in Corporate America. I’m still processing all you had to say, Charlene. Some of what you had to say gave me a whole new perspective on Diversity, growth and overcoming difficulty with passion and perseverance. I’m inspired."

R. Hackney

MY STORY

Four years ago, at the height of my career, I was an executive at a multi-billion-dollar global company and living my best life.  I was killing it!  Or so I thought.  While I was busy breaking down barriers and busting up stereotypes, my body was on its own journey, and I was diagnosed with Stage2 Breast Cancer.  I want to say that event didn’t change my life; it just put it on pause.  But that’s not what happened.  As I saw the typical seven-month treatment plan stretch into a more than three-year battle for my health, it was clear that things would never be the same.  Cancer changed me, so I changed my world.  Today, I take the lessons I learned from climbing the corporate ladder as a first Black woman to … (fill in the blank) and from overcoming obstacles to advise leaders and organizations chart a successful path for diversity, equity, and justice in the workplace. I help people discover a better way to climb the ladder to success and to lead with purpose, passion, and unapologetic authenticity.  

Whether you are looking for a keynote speaker for your next conference, an excellent book for strategies and inspiration, or one-on-one coaching and advisory on business and life for individuals and teams, I’m here.  Let’s work together to find the fire to forge what’s next for you.  

CHARLENE WHEELESS

RESILIENT. AUTHENTIC. UNSHAKEABLE.

Sign up for the latest news, updates. If you already have the book, let me know and I'll send you an autographed bookplate!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join Our Amazing
Community

Unapologetic Authenticity Blog >

Music Moves Me
May 1, 2021

The power of music to move you.

Does Your Reality Match Your Rhetoric?
January 29, 2021

When I speak to employees from companies whose leaders took a firm stand last summer, I also hear that a strange thing is happening inside those companies – nothing.

Waiting to Exhale
January 20, 2021

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for nearly two months. When I first wrote it, I was filled with optimism and ready to declare some semblance of a victory. But deep in my subconscious, I knew it wasn’t time to even hint at success, and I wasn’t sure optimism was warranted, either.

Rebuilding together after the insurrection
January 15, 2021

Since the seditious insurrection incited by the president last week, I’ve had two things on my mind. First, as a Black American, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the insurrectionists scaled the walls of the Capitol, broke through its windows and doors and disrupted a sacred Constitutional process. My first thought was, if I had done that, I would have been shot dead on the spot. I asked myself, and I ask you now: Would these events have unfolded differently had the horde been Black?

COVID-19 in 2021: Is Your Company Ready?
December 21, 2020

Authored by Charlene Wheeless, senior advisor for equity and justice at APCO Worldwide and Barie Carmichael, senior counselor at APCO Worldwide

Half and Half, Pt. 3
October 8, 2020

“In my adult life, I have approached most things from an intellectual perspective."

Half and Half, Part 2
October 6, 2020

"During times like these, being biracial holds a strange power."

Half and Half, Part 1
September 7, 2020

“Growing up, being biracial wasn't "a thing." That didn't start until college.

Half-and-Half
September 6, 2020

What the Current Racial Injustice Movement Means to a Mixed-Race Family

When Will America Love Us Back?
August 31, 2020

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't Stop Now
June 3, 2020

This time, I’m not the one who is sick. Our country is. 

Just Between Us Girls
August 30, 2018

Is Cancer a Journey or a Destination?

#205 I Knew I Hit Rock Bottom When I Bought a Mink Coat
August 21, 2018

I’m depressed. I’ve been dealing with depression most of my life, so I know it when I see it. My mom had it and so did her mother. I have some pretty good coping mechanisms, but they aren’t working this time.

#206 The Spontaneous Combustion of My Breast
August 20, 2018

I’ve been doing well—getting back into the swing of things and feeling really good, if not great. But alas, sometimes three steps forward comes with two steps back.

#208 -- The Rest of the Story -- Spontaneous Combustion
August 18, 2018

Note: If you haven’t read the first part of Spontaneous Combustion, this post won’t make sense to you. Take a look at that one and then come back here!

#209 I Do -- Take Two?
August 17, 2018

My husband and I have had this “thing” for the past several years about renewing our vows. It started as we approached our 20-year anniversary. I suggested that we renew our vows. His response was swift and definitive and went something like: “No, I did it once and I don’t need to do it again. Besides, you only want to do it so you can have a big party and be the center of attention.”

Guest Blogger: How I overcame cancer and learned to be the director of my own life
August 16, 2018

Followers, today I am pleased to introduce you to our first guest blogger, Melissa Fleming. Melissa is currently the head of Communications and chief spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She leads global media outreach and campaigns, and operates multi-media news and feature service. From October 2016 to April 2017, she served as Senior Advisor to UN Secretary-General António Guterres on his Transition Team. Melissa is also a celebrated author, advocate, and public speaker.

Guest Blogger -- Are There Bombs Strapped to My Chest?
August 15, 2018

“It’s not that I don’t love my breasts, I guess I just love me more.”

#210 -- Am I A Survivor?
August 14, 2018

I’ve always known I was a fighter, but a survivor? Not so much. My mother; now she was a survivor. She fled a 20-year abusive marriage with nothing but a high school education and four kids in tow, the youngest being 7 (me), and she created the best life she could. That’s what I call a survivor. I’m sure without her will to survive, my life would have gone in a very different direction.

#211 Cancer Resources
August 13, 2018

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share some resources that have helped me on and off through my journey in understanding what was happening to me, but also giving me different perspectives. I share these with you in hopes they may also be helpful to you. Please feel free to share any additional resources you think I should add to this list. Thank you!

#212 It's Complicated
August 13, 2018

Life is complicated. That’s not a revelation, but sometimes we forget. Life is complicated. For everyone.

#213 What's Your Number?
August 12, 2018

When I was in college and later in my early 20s, our girl posse would get together, sit around in cute pajamas or Juicy Couture tracksuits, drinking cheap wine, munching on nachos, and playing one of two games – the utterly silly “Have You Ever?” or the more intriguing game “What’s Your Number?”

#214 New Attitude or New Day?
August 12, 2018

In 1984, Disco Diva Patti LaBelle released a song called “New Attitude.” I can’t remember the lyrics, but if I close my eyes and think about it, I am quickly transported back to the mid-'80s when I taught aerobics.

#216 Guest Blogger: What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient
August 11, 2018

“WHEN VISITING A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER WHO IS SICK, IT’S GOOD TO LEAVE PLATITUDES AT THE DOOR.”

#217 Dragging My Feet
August 10, 2018

I’ve been writing this blog post for months–many months. I think my last post was in May. This is unusual for me. It generally takes me an hour to write a post, another hour to marinade on it and then about 30 minutes to post it.

#218 Just One More Slice?
August 9, 2018

I had another surgery in January—four weeks ago in fact. I’ve now lost count of how many re-revisions of breast reconstruction I’ve had. I wonder how many surgeries you can have before the rest of your body breaks down.

#101 Wigging Out
August 22, 2017

In each of the pictures below, except one, I’m wearing a different wig. The “one” where I’m not (in case it isn’t obvious) is when my fur baby, Chivas, decided to get in the wig game.. 🙂

#102 Lumpy, Flat, or Lopsided -- How Do You Decide?
August 20, 2017

People have frequently asked me how I decided to have a double mastectomy vs. a lumpectomy or to have the diseased breast removed. It wasn’t an easy decision for me, but it was a quick one, and once I made it, I never looked back.

#103 Chemo. Chemo. Chemotherapy
August 18, 2017

For me, when I sat in the chair to start my first chemotherapy infusion was when my cancer felt very real. Something about knowing that poison would be pumped through my system for several hours was really unsettling, as I imagine it would be for anyone.

Text Link
This is some text inside of a div block.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Music Moves Me
May 1, 2021

The power of music to move you.

Does Your Reality Match Your Rhetoric?
January 29, 2021

When I speak to employees from companies whose leaders took a firm stand last summer, I also hear that a strange thing is happening inside those companies – nothing.

Waiting to Exhale
January 20, 2021

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for nearly two months. When I first wrote it, I was filled with optimism and ready to declare some semblance of a victory. But deep in my subconscious, I knew it wasn’t time to even hint at success, and I wasn’t sure optimism was warranted, either.

Rebuilding together after the insurrection
January 15, 2021

Since the seditious insurrection incited by the president last week, I’ve had two things on my mind. First, as a Black American, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the insurrectionists scaled the walls of the Capitol, broke through its windows and doors and disrupted a sacred Constitutional process. My first thought was, if I had done that, I would have been shot dead on the spot. I asked myself, and I ask you now: Would these events have unfolded differently had the horde been Black?

COVID-19 in 2021: Is Your Company Ready?
December 21, 2020

Authored by Charlene Wheeless, senior advisor for equity and justice at APCO Worldwide and Barie Carmichael, senior counselor at APCO Worldwide

Half and Half, Pt. 3
October 8, 2020

“In my adult life, I have approached most things from an intellectual perspective."

Half and Half, Part 2
October 6, 2020

"During times like these, being biracial holds a strange power."

Half and Half, Part 1
September 7, 2020

“Growing up, being biracial wasn't "a thing." That didn't start until college.

Half-and-Half
September 6, 2020

What the Current Racial Injustice Movement Means to a Mixed-Race Family

When Will America Love Us Back?
August 31, 2020

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't Stop Now
June 3, 2020

This time, I’m not the one who is sick. Our country is. 

Just Between Us Girls
August 30, 2018

Is Cancer a Journey or a Destination?

#205 I Knew I Hit Rock Bottom When I Bought a Mink Coat
August 21, 2018

I’m depressed. I’ve been dealing with depression most of my life, so I know it when I see it. My mom had it and so did her mother. I have some pretty good coping mechanisms, but they aren’t working this time.

#206 The Spontaneous Combustion of My Breast
August 20, 2018

I’ve been doing well—getting back into the swing of things and feeling really good, if not great. But alas, sometimes three steps forward comes with two steps back.

#208 -- The Rest of the Story -- Spontaneous Combustion
August 18, 2018

Note: If you haven’t read the first part of Spontaneous Combustion, this post won’t make sense to you. Take a look at that one and then come back here!

#209 I Do -- Take Two?
August 17, 2018

My husband and I have had this “thing” for the past several years about renewing our vows. It started as we approached our 20-year anniversary. I suggested that we renew our vows. His response was swift and definitive and went something like: “No, I did it once and I don’t need to do it again. Besides, you only want to do it so you can have a big party and be the center of attention.”

Guest Blogger: How I overcame cancer and learned to be the director of my own life
August 16, 2018

Followers, today I am pleased to introduce you to our first guest blogger, Melissa Fleming. Melissa is currently the head of Communications and chief spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She leads global media outreach and campaigns, and operates multi-media news and feature service. From October 2016 to April 2017, she served as Senior Advisor to UN Secretary-General António Guterres on his Transition Team. Melissa is also a celebrated author, advocate, and public speaker.

Guest Blogger -- Are There Bombs Strapped to My Chest?
August 15, 2018

“It’s not that I don’t love my breasts, I guess I just love me more.”

#210 -- Am I A Survivor?
August 14, 2018

I’ve always known I was a fighter, but a survivor? Not so much. My mother; now she was a survivor. She fled a 20-year abusive marriage with nothing but a high school education and four kids in tow, the youngest being 7 (me), and she created the best life she could. That’s what I call a survivor. I’m sure without her will to survive, my life would have gone in a very different direction.

#211 Cancer Resources
August 13, 2018

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share some resources that have helped me on and off through my journey in understanding what was happening to me, but also giving me different perspectives. I share these with you in hopes they may also be helpful to you. Please feel free to share any additional resources you think I should add to this list. Thank you!

#212 It's Complicated
August 13, 2018

Life is complicated. That’s not a revelation, but sometimes we forget. Life is complicated. For everyone.

#213 What's Your Number?
August 12, 2018

When I was in college and later in my early 20s, our girl posse would get together, sit around in cute pajamas or Juicy Couture tracksuits, drinking cheap wine, munching on nachos, and playing one of two games – the utterly silly “Have You Ever?” or the more intriguing game “What’s Your Number?”

#214 New Attitude or New Day?
August 12, 2018

In 1984, Disco Diva Patti LaBelle released a song called “New Attitude.” I can’t remember the lyrics, but if I close my eyes and think about it, I am quickly transported back to the mid-'80s when I taught aerobics.

#216 Guest Blogger: What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient
August 11, 2018

“WHEN VISITING A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER WHO IS SICK, IT’S GOOD TO LEAVE PLATITUDES AT THE DOOR.”

#217 Dragging My Feet
August 10, 2018

I’ve been writing this blog post for months–many months. I think my last post was in May. This is unusual for me. It generally takes me an hour to write a post, another hour to marinade on it and then about 30 minutes to post it.

#218 Just One More Slice?
August 9, 2018

I had another surgery in January—four weeks ago in fact. I’ve now lost count of how many re-revisions of breast reconstruction I’ve had. I wonder how many surgeries you can have before the rest of your body breaks down.

#101 Wigging Out
August 22, 2017

In each of the pictures below, except one, I’m wearing a different wig. The “one” where I’m not (in case it isn’t obvious) is when my fur baby, Chivas, decided to get in the wig game.. 🙂

#102 Lumpy, Flat, or Lopsided -- How Do You Decide?
August 20, 2017

People have frequently asked me how I decided to have a double mastectomy vs. a lumpectomy or to have the diseased breast removed. It wasn’t an easy decision for me, but it was a quick one, and once I made it, I never looked back.

#103 Chemo. Chemo. Chemotherapy
August 18, 2017

For me, when I sat in the chair to start my first chemotherapy infusion was when my cancer felt very real. Something about knowing that poison would be pumped through my system for several hours was really unsettling, as I imagine it would be for anyone.

Unapologetic Authenticity Blog >
(Click here for cancer blog,
and scroll to bottom of page)

Music Moves Me
May 1, 2021

The power of music to move you.

Text Link
This is some text inside of a div block.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Music Moves Me
May 1, 2021

The power of music to move you.

Does Your Reality Match Your Rhetoric?
January 29, 2021

When I speak to employees from companies whose leaders took a firm stand last summer, I also hear that a strange thing is happening inside those companies – nothing.

Waiting to Exhale
January 20, 2021

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for nearly two months. When I first wrote it, I was filled with optimism and ready to declare some semblance of a victory. But deep in my subconscious, I knew it wasn’t time to even hint at success, and I wasn’t sure optimism was warranted, either.

Rebuilding together after the insurrection
January 15, 2021

Since the seditious insurrection incited by the president last week, I’ve had two things on my mind. First, as a Black American, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the insurrectionists scaled the walls of the Capitol, broke through its windows and doors and disrupted a sacred Constitutional process. My first thought was, if I had done that, I would have been shot dead on the spot. I asked myself, and I ask you now: Would these events have unfolded differently had the horde been Black?

COVID-19 in 2021: Is Your Company Ready?
December 21, 2020

Authored by Charlene Wheeless, senior advisor for equity and justice at APCO Worldwide and Barie Carmichael, senior counselor at APCO Worldwide

Half and Half, Pt. 3
October 8, 2020

“In my adult life, I have approached most things from an intellectual perspective."

Half and Half, Part 2
October 6, 2020

"During times like these, being biracial holds a strange power."

Half and Half, Part 1
September 7, 2020

“Growing up, being biracial wasn't "a thing." That didn't start until college.

Half-and-Half
September 6, 2020

What the Current Racial Injustice Movement Means to a Mixed-Race Family

When Will America Love Us Back?
August 31, 2020

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't Stop Now
June 3, 2020

This time, I’m not the one who is sick. Our country is. 

Sign up for the latest news, UPDATES, AND BOOK CHAPTER!
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWLETTER