“Listen to Your Inner Voice,” Charlene Holmes from Imana Borena, Inc

Welcome to the Pass the Mic and the Defining Moment series. We’re giving powerful women the opportunity to make the world their mentee. These rockstars are joining us to share their stories and sage advice with up-and-coming women.

This fall, we had the pleasure of being a part of the

Sistas in Sales Summit in Queens, NY. While there, we had the honor of sitting down with
Charlene Holmes
for a one-on-one Pass the Mic interview.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of Charlene’s work. She believes, “without equitable systems and policy, our historically ignored groups risk the chance of being harmed, ignored, and stripped of their access to the ways of increased upward mobility.” Charlene is the Founder and CEO of Imana Borena, Inc, offering comprehensive training to organizations seeking transformational learning. She is a DEI practitioner with over a decade of experience in student engagement and curriculum development.

The video above contains our can’t-miss interview with Charlene (just click play by her lovely face). And no need to take notes—we captured some highlights and takeaways below.

You Have to Give Back

“My family is from the Bahamas. So, they're just like, ‘Go to school, go to college, you're in America, do what we tell you’… Coming from an immigrant family, you know, they just have this one-track mind. So, I did it because I wanted to make my mom happy and proud. 

I ended up graduating from college… and I did really well, but something said to me, you need to give back to your community. Because what I found was when I was in college, I had all my ducks in a row, to the point where I would walk into an office, know exactly who to go to, and get what I needed done. But no one taught me how to do it—it was my self-advocacy. And now I share it with young people for free.” – Charlene Holmes [2:00 – 2:56]

Do Your Research

“The goal is research. So when I work with young people or even young professionals, I always give them as much information as possible—not so that it's overwhelming, but the more information you have, the better decisions you make. So if you can thoroughly research what the career is, what's the trajectory, find a mentor, find somebody who's in that particular industry, and move in that direction based off of the feedback that you get back and the research that you've been able to do… You can make an informed decision and take your life to the next level. Also, my platform at Imana Borena is a professional platform with an authentic twist, meaning you have to be authentic to yourself” – Charlene Holmes [3:07 – 3:51]

Believe in Yourself

Be true to yourself. Believe in yourself. Listen to that inner voice. And I always tell my young people or my professionals, I always say, you know that little voice that speaks to you? And you're thinking to yourself, ‘Is this really me?’ Yes! That little voice, listen to it because it's always right—99.9% of the time when you go against that little voice, that still voice, you find yourself in… a regretful position. So, believe in yourself. Believe in that little voice and do the research to take you to the next level.” – Charlene Holmes [3:58 – 4:31]

Explore All the Dimensions of Yourself

“Everything that I do, I'm passionate about, right. These are all different parts of me. I'm more than just an auntie, a daughter, a cousin, a business owner. I have dreams and goals and aspirations, and I believe that I should be able to do all of those things in the land of the free, right. I live in America—I love this country… It’s a really great place, though right, where you get to explore all of the dimensions of yourself. And that's something that I also bring to the business… When you humanize an experience, you get to be more than just what somebody says you should be.

So, the way I find time is I choose based off of what speaks to my soul, my heart, and who I am as an individual. And then it just doesn't feel like work. It feels like I'm doing what I love, so I'm happy to get up and do that.” – Charlene Holmes [5:15 – 6:08]

Charlene stays motivated and inspired by tapping into her Caribbean roots with afrobeats, soca music, reggae music, and reggaeton. She loves music that speaks to the richness of her culture.

If you're ready for more inspiring wisdom from badass women, check out more

Pass the Mic content.

A special thanks to Monica Robles, Sales Director at Pandora for interviewing Charlene Holmes.