Charlene Izere on Transforming Lives Through Building Black Economic Power
Black people and black women specifically face a number of challenges white people and men do not. Black people are denied access to basic resources white people are afforded and the entrepreneurial ecosystem is no different.
Charlene Izere is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and founder of three businesses: Soulful Systems, an online business management agency; Wellness Delivered, a self-care and community care organization; and Melanin & Money, a resource hub for black entrepreneurially minded women.
Charlene Izere knows firsthand the challenges involved in building wealth as a black immigrant woman stepping into the entrepreneurial ecosystem and is passionate about changing the landscape of this space by building black economic power.
Shifting power imbalances in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
“We need to work on our historic systems of economic oppression, such as pay disparity, lack of visibility, resource mobilization opportunities, tokenization, and creative theft. So it’s important to put ourselves in spaces where we are not only recognized as an authority, but also see ourselves as someone who deserves that wealth.”
As a start-up entrepreneur Charlene endured the systematic inequality and exclusion many black women face. When she first started fitness coaching, instead of her pricing reflecting the years of experience she had accrued hustling and scaling others dreams, her pricing reflected the inadequacy and imposter syndrome ingrained in many BIPOC women when they enter this system.
It’s from her own experience in this space Charlene founded Melanin & Money. Melanin & Money provides black women with the tools and resources needed to grow their network and net-worth all whilst being supported and nurtured through community.
“Everything shifted for me when I made the mindset shift that it doesn’t have to be hard. I realized I can put myself in places where I am supported and I can thrive, instead of feeling like I’m always trying to survive.”
Igniting hope and transforming lives
Charlene’s story is one which ignites hope in the hearts and souls of other black women who are slowly reclaiming their power. “The magic that black women hold has always been there, but now there’s no option not to see it, because now you see it no matter what.”
Not only has Charlene founded three businesses, she scaled one of her businesses Soulful Systems to multiple 6-figures in less than six months during 2020. Charlene is proof you can really have it all, no matter your background, building her empire from the ground up.
Charlene started Soulful Systems, with the ultimate goal of providing freedom in both money and time for her clients. She knew had more potential than the life she was living, so she decided to change it. Starting first as a virtual assistant business, Charlene scaled Soulful Systems to a boutique online business management agency during 2020.
Through delivering an excellent client experience in Soulful Systems, Charlene was able to not only transform the lives of her clients but her community. Her profitable year allowed her to re-invest the money from this business back into her social enterprise Melanin & Money.
Building a legacy for black women
“I want to leave the world Blacker than when I entered. And I want my businesses to reflect that. So for me that looks like building a legacy where I can redefine power in my life and in the lives of folks that look like me.”
It is this legacy which fuels the fire in all she does. For Charlene, it is all a defiant expression of self love for black women. It’s about changing how black women see themselves by not only increasing their self-love but getting them to think about generational wealth and funneling money and resources back into their own community.
With three businesses and counting, Charlene isn’t stopping. She’s also building a digital marketplace for black goods & 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.
Charlene is one of the fastest rising leaders who are committed to building empires led by black women. And thanks to Charlene, black women are finally starting to see, you can truly have it all without apology.