Charlene Izere’s story is proof, you can change your life despite multiplicative oppression. It’s not often you hear of success stories from black, immigrant women; let alone a black immigrant woman who is the founder of three flourishing businesses. From cleaning houses, designing assets for an ostrich company and babysitting; to multiple six-figures, Charlene is fast rising as the world’s top black female creator.
Charlene Izere is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and the founder of three businesses: Soulful Systems, an online business management agency; Wellness Delivered, a self-care and community care organization; and Melanin and Money, a resource hub for black entrepreneurially minded women. Charlene wants to put money and opportunity into the hands of black women and is building a legacy to go with it.
Turn your pain into purpose
For a lot of creators, their best work is often born from their deepest pain.
Charlene was born in Rwanda and fled to the United States as a child with her sisters and mother to escape the war. She grew up as a refugee, lived off food stamps, and spent a lot of her life living in fear, doing what she could to survive.
Denied the basic comforts of safety, family and economy, Charlene felt deeply persecuted by this world prior to becoming a Wellness Coach, Business Coach and ECommerce Entrepreneur. She knows firsthand how disheartening it can be to feel underrepresented, longing for community, and support by women who get it in the entrepreneurial space. It’s from this very space, Melanin and Money was born.
“Like many black women who enter the entrepreneurship ecosystem, I had little frame of reference. No financial support system. No network behind me. I was literally building my legacy from the ground up.”
Melanin and Money is her gift to the world; a hub for entrepreneurially minded black women. It provides black women with a space to prioritize their own futures by creating an ecosystem of support, tools and resources for black, bold business owners to grow their network and net-worth – everything she herself needed.
Using intuition to guide you
Women in business are slowly starting to use their intuition to create rising empires. Women are no longer disregarding their intuition; they’re realizing their intuition is not only something to work with, but something to trust.
Charlene’s secret to her fast rising success is using her intuition to guide her. What this meant for Charlene is reading between the lines of what was happening in a global pandemic to take the best course of action. “My intuition and resilience was my North Star. I made decisions based on experience and took calculated risks when necessary.”
While a lot of businesses were struggling and failing, Charlene scaled one of her businesses Soulful Systems to multiple six-figures in less than 6-months. She recognized she needed to focus on the venture that had the most financial ROI so she could later be in a financial position to redirect her energy to her social impact businesses.
She started Soulful Systems as a virtual assistant business and during 2020 scaled it to a boutique online business management agency. Her mission with Soulful Systems is to deliver an excellent client experience. By re-directing her focus and delivering on this mission, it allowed Charlene to build the momentum and money necessary to later re-invest in her social enterprises.
Leave a legacy
It’s not just about building a business; it’s about leaving a legacy.
Charlene wants to leave the world blacker than when she entered. It is this legacy which drives Charlene to create businesses which redefine power not only in her life, but in the lives of others who look like her.
With three businesses and counting, Charlene isn’t stopping there. She is also building a digital marketplace for black goods and service, and an impact fund for BIWOC entrepreneurs. We Own Our Legacy Impact Fund currently in its infancy has raised nearly 10k so far with more growth on the horizon.
For Charlene, it is all a defiant expression of self love for black women. “I want us to start thinking critically about generational wealth and funneling money and resources back into our own community.”
You can follow Charlene on Instagram here.