We had the good fortune of connecting with Charmaine Utz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charmaine, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After going through my own personal workplace trauma, my healing journey brought me to the realization; I needed to take my experience and put it to use. Living Unapologetically was born because I saw a gap between knowing and doing things to promote equity, diversity, & inclusion. Today I find I am energized by helping leaders in organizations identify and reform harmful workplace practices to create safe and equitable environments for employees, particularly staff of color.
What should our readers know about your business?
It took me nearly a decade to find my place in the field of equity, diversity, and inclusion. What sets me apart is my approach. It’s clear to me now that part of my purpose in life is to work with leaders in organizations who are hungry for vulnerability from their consultant and coach. I get excited thinking about working with leaders who want to be taken to difficult places internally to challenge what’s been programmed by society all their lives; and to do it for the sake of creating a safe, equitable work environment for their employees. I am also proud that equity, diversity and inclusion are not just my job, they are my practice. You can find that these are the pillars in how I engage with my employees/consultants/clients and how every aspect of how my business was developed (and continues to develop).
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m not big on stacking an itinerary because I NEED to go with a flow and honor our moods each day. However, the week would probably include some combination of: – the beach – walking around a scenic park – bike riding – picking up a bomb smoothie – checking out a nice vegan spot – grabbing a drink or coffee at a place where I’m surrounded by plants – some random drive in the car while listening to old music.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I attribute my desire to make meaningful change to my grandmother. She has been and always will be my greatest motivation. I definitely want to shout out the agency leaders who shared their experiences and feedback with me over the years, many of them personal stories that were difficult to say out loud. They contributed to the knowledge I gained and helped shape my approach in the field. They continue to serve as a source of inspiration to develop tools and resources for companies who want to change the way they do business in the name of equity, diversity, and inclusion. I’d also like to acknowledge Omobola “Bola” Ruff for her partnership throughout the development of my business by sharing her wisdom and insight on the things I could not see. And she continues to do so every step of the way.