You are Enough! Reclaiming your career and your life with purpose, passion, and unapologetic authenticity chronicles Charlene Wheeless’s fearless quest to be the best possible version of herself in EVERY aspect of her life–at work and home. For Charlene, this means busting up stereotypes, breaking down barriers, and flat-out refusing to be ignored,pigeonholed, or forgotten.
Using blog posts from her courageous battle with breast cancer, lessons from her popular “Lessons from Being Invisible” speaking series, and personal accounts of her climb to being one of the first Black female executives in traditionally white and male-dominated industries, Charlene’s voice is one that resonates across every spectrum—a voice that demands being heard.
Charlene’s experiences serve as a compass for individuals and corporations looking to change their course, alter their patterns, and expand their way of thinking and being. With raw honesty, blazing courage, and solution-driven sensibility, Charlene reminds us that despite the setbacks, struggles, and obstacles life throws our way, we can be seen. We must not be invisible. We must be our own authentic selves. In short: We are enough!
Early praise for You 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 Media
“Plenty of people offer advice. Few offer wisdom. By sharing her life and experiences, Charlene Wheeless invites readers on a remarkable journey of self-discovery gaining profound insights along the way. Hers is a powerful, empowering voice–an important one for our times. This is a book for everyone. Everyone who reads this book will be enriched."
--Phillip Barlag, Executive Director, World 50
“Charlene is a remarkable person, and there is something for each of us to learn from her experience. Her stories are full of examples of her tenacity in facing the kind of adversity that comes from having to fight for everything you have, but doing it with grace, smarts, and authenticity. It is these characteristics that Charlene brought to her most difficult battle—facing and fighting cancer. For so many people, getting cancer and dealing with this horrible disease is a transformational event. Some people are overtaken by the trauma of dealing with it, but You Are Enough! reminds us all that we are in charge of ourselves. Our response and coping methods are within our own control. So, thank you, Charlene, for the gift of these lessons and for being so brave in putting it all out there so we can apply these lessons to our own lives.”
--Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide
“With a level of candor, transparency, and, yes, authenticity that will surprise you, Charlene Wheeless dispenses sound advice for living that all of us can learn from. Her personal story already had inspired me – and I know her well as a leader, colleague, and friend – but there are new details here that brought tears to my eyes and nourishment to my soul. I promise you will love this book.”
--Roger Bolton, CEO, Page Society
"This book is super-relevant at any time, but especially during an unprecedented period when everyone is reassessing their lives and reprioritizing their purpose and career. Charlene's honest and reflective story of resilience in the face of serious health setbacks and refusal to accept the limitations that societal norms and conventions place on her is inspiring to everyone. She encourages women, in particular, to be their authentic selves in the workplace but to also recognize when to make pragmatic trade-offs to get results.
"Everyone dreams about what might have been or what could be: Charlene's practical and down-to-earth advice tells us how to get out there and achieve our potential. As we reassess our values and respond to an extraordinary time in world history, You Are Enough! is the perfect guide to living in the moment and not waiting for a mythical tomorrow that never comes. It is a great primer for both work and life."
--Steve Barrett, Editor-in-Chief, PR Week US
You Are Enough! is elegant in its straightforwardness. It is sensitively written, albeit raw. Charlene shares in a way that made me feel fully accepted as she shared her intimate story, and like I was intruding at the same time. The book is honest, genuine, courageous, and at all times REAL, and by the way—it is very smartly written. I loved it.”
--Bill Heyman, CEO, Heyman Associates Executive Search
This is a stirring tale of a brilliant communicator and cancer survivor who has made the most of her life in every way.
--Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman Public Relations
Many people will benefit from reading and applying the wisdom, insight and authenticity of Charlene's journey. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. It took me on an unexpected journey where it became apparent that when you are able to travel with someone on their journey, it actually allows you to see your own life. This was very profound. What I have learned from Charlene will change the shape of my life going forward. Many, many thanks to you for this. Simply put! Beautifully done!"
--Phyllis Newhouse, CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc. | Founder of Shoulder Up | Host of LITalks
"By sharing her story — her whole story — with the world, Charlene Wheeless has given us a gift. Whether you relate to her descriptions of racial injustice, have faced challenges like abuse and cancer, have experiences similar to hers from your own career or all of the above, everyone can find an aspect of her story that resonates.
Each chapter is built around valuable lessons it took Charlene years to learn, something young people just starting their careers can really benefit from. Frankly, not so young people can benefit, too. I recognized myself over and over throughout the book, and knowing that someone of Charlene’s caliber shared some of my biggest fears was reassuring in a whole new way. Without a doubt, this book will give more people permission to come forward and tell their stories without shame."
--Jane Randel, Karp Randel Co-Founder, NoMore.org, Co-Founder
"A successful business executive and cancer survivor shares life lessons in this motivational memoir. Consultant Wheeless was the first person in her family to attend college, and she’s been the youngest person, the first woman, the first Black person, or the first woman of color in each new role on her way to the executive suite.
In 2017, at the age of 53, she was leading corporate affairs for a $40 billion global company when a breast cancer diagnosis changed her life. In 15 short chapters with titles such as “Quit Whining,” “Ask for What You Want,” “Work Is Personal,” and “It Is Not All About You,” she offers practical pep talks bolstered by personal anecdotes. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quotation from a famous figure, such as Maya Angelou, Marianne Williamson, or William Faulkner. Several incorporate posts selected from a blog the author wrote to document her experience of cancer treatment, complications that led to multiple surgeries, and her recovery. The inspirational messages, such as “embrace your own authentic self” and “the days are long, but the years are short,” bear repeating even though they will be familiar to self-help readers. Still, the author’s voice is sincere, breezy, upbeat, and surprisingly relatable considering her impressive accomplishments. Her perspective feels authentic and refreshingly down-to-earth, and she presents stories of her encounters with gender, age, and racial bias with honesty and without bitterness.
Wheeless admits to her own faults, foibles, and mistakes; at the same time, she expresses pride in her achievements; gratitude for those who helped, supported, and inspired her; and dedication to helping, supporting, and inspiring others, in turn. Her strong, personal Christian faith and sense of humor are also evident throughout the text.
An upbeat, engaging guide to navigating work and life challenges."