We had the good fortune of connecting with Charmaine Utz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charmaine, what do you attribute your success to?
Being clear about what my brand is and what it isn’t! I chose to approach my work by doing things outside of the box. When I began, people continued to give me advice to steer me in the direction of what they’ve “seen” work. I was very clear on my vision and the uniqueness of my services. I consistently get feedback from clients about how they experience my work and that it’s the reason they continue to work with me.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who works with people of different backgrounds, identities, abilities, interests, and more to explore what is holding them back so they can live the life they want. My approach to this work is social justice oriented, which means I am intentional about making space for how internalized, social, and institutional oppression are part of your life experiences. I founded Living Unapologetically after I hit rock bottom while working for a toxic organization. The impact of the oppressive leadership system on its employees, particularly those of color, became too much to ignore. Lip service given to the commitment of an inclusive workplace ultimately led to my request for action by the organization’s executive leadership. It was my pursuit for creating a safe space for everyone that made me a target of direct and indirect discrimination. I chose to leave when I realized change would not occur from within a mechanism that thrives on maintaining its facade of being for all. I help people examine life experiences and goals while considering the societal climate. I bring similar conversations into nonprofit organizations to help cultivate more inclusive environments. I believe that it is through having courageous conversations with ourselves and others that we promote authenticity, healthy lives, and happy hearts.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around 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
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to pinpoint one person on this journey. I can honestly say that my success is because of an accumulation of experiences over the years. I appreciate each piece of the puzzle that people have given, and continue to give, to me. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel for the network of love and support I have!
All images were taken by me.