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About the Guest

Charlena has a double undergrad degree from Towson University in Mass Communications and Marketing with a double minor in Sociology and Psychology. She went on from there to earn my MBA from University of Maryland, and my Masters in International Affairs from UMUC. She worked as an event planner throughout college planning events that ranged from Beyonce’s 21st birthday party to the Dalia Lama’s Retreat on Death and Dying (yeah… they were, literally, in the same week). Then She went on to work in the fast paced world of advertising. When it was time to slow things down and consider a family, Charlena accepted a position as COO of a family friendly marketing company here on the East Coast and began to pursue her tenured professorship at the same school She, herself, had graduated from: Towson University, while pursuing her PhD. And that’s where the stuff hits the fan if you know what I mean… The story gets intense! 

Episode Summary:

  • Charlena shares her story of struggling with hyperemesis for both of her pregnancies. If you are not familiar with hyperemesis, it’s like morning sickness times a million! After the birth of her second child, the hyperemesis turned into a major medical scare that sent her to the ICU for several months. 
  • Once Charlena had survived a surgery that almost took her life, She said that having to figure out how to live was just as difficult. After months of being in the ICU, she was finally released on Christmas Eve! Charlena talks about the support that she received from family and friends made her appreciate the meaning Christmas and the power of community!
    • “I had figured out how not to die but it was really hard to live.” –Charlena Smith

  • After almost losing her life, Charlena talks on how this gave her an opportunity to change her priorities in life. She mentions how her actions did not match her values and before, it was a hard to change because she got into a habit of always yes! Now, she puts most of her focus on her family, spiritual life, and health.
    • “I was blessed with an entirely new blank life that I could write however I wanted.” –Charlena Smith

  • Charlena goes on to share about her accountability program called, Optio: A matched and guided accountability program for women. Optio members are intentionally trained on best practices of accountability, and then optimally matched using Optio’s innovative psychographic algorithm. Partners then support one another within a 90-day structure to set goals, and hold each other accountable in order to succeed: unlocking their greatest potential.
  • Charlena talks about her multi generational living lifestyle. Although they may not agree on certain topics, they are still able to communicate with each other in a healthy way. 

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