2016 Year End Review: Making of A Career Goddess

A Career Goddess has the courage to go for what she truly wants, even if she has no idea how she will get it.

Hi, I’m Charlene Rhinehart–Founder of the Career Goddess Academy. I want to help you unlock your career potential; this requires me to constantly take on opportunities that will allow me to explore the possibilities beyond what I see now. 2016 was all about being bold in my purpose. And let’s just be real–this is a far-fetched goal for a quiet introvert who has spent most her working life analyzing financial statements. But I refused to be limited to a job title: we are more than our jobs and there are so many beautiful gifts that we can unwrap in our lives when we remove these constraints. Here is my year of 2016 in review.


I did the unthinkable. I booked a one-way flight to Denver, Colorado to participate in community service and perform in a weekly two-hour show around the world with Up with People. All 100 cast members from the world went to Denver for four weeks of training to learn all the songs and dances for the world tour. Did I mention that this was a 6-month tour around the world? Imagine that!

I was terrified. Why? I was not the cliché 19-year-old who was using this opportunity as a gap year experience to travel around the world. Before Up with People, I was working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for one of the biggest financial services firms in the world for over six years in Chicago. So, the thought of me going from a CPA mindset to a performer’s was a huge leap. Plus, I had never left Chicago for an extended period of time and this time I was leaving my home to live with strangers from around the world for six months. Yikes–talk about a bold career move.

The best thing about the tour was realizing that I wasn’t staying with strangers; I was staying with the most loving people who opened their doors (and refrigerators) to members of Up with People. Having the opportunity to experience various cultural traditions and ways of living was probably the best part of the tour.

If you are a young leader between 17-29, go online at www.upwithpeople.org to apply to join the next Cast of Up with People. Scholarships are available!

Tour Schedule:

Denver | January 17 – February 15

Des Moines, Iowa | February 15 to February 22

Pepper Pike, Ohio | February 22 to February 29

Watertown, South Dakota | February 29 to March 7

Sioux Falls, South Dakota | March 7 to March 14

Topeka, Kansas | March 14 to March 21

Houston, Texas | March 21 to March 28

San Luis Potosi, Mexico | March 28  to April 4

Naucalpan, Mexico | April 4 to April 11

Mexico City, Mexico | April 11 to April 18

Bermuda | April 18 to May 2

Falkoping, Sweden | May 2 to May 9

Copenhagen, Denmark | May 9 to May 16

Helsingborg, Sweden | May 16 to May 23

Genk, Belgium | May 23 to May 30

If you are a young leader between 17-29, go online at www.upwithpeople.org to apply to join the next Cast of Up with People. Scholarships are available!


This was the first time I spent my birthday away from Chicago. I was in Denver, Colorado with the Goodrich family for my 29th birthday. They made my birthday very special–oh, and the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl on my birthday!

Around the same time, I received an email from the MCA director informing me that I was going to be crowned the next MCA Ambassador in Orlando, Florida. I was excited that my hard work was paying off because the days leading up to my birthday were a bit stressful: I had to learn new dances and songs for the tour, I was putting the finishing touches on the MCA Ambassador video, and I was also creating my Ms. Corporate America 2015 farewell speech. Yeah, I was starting to feel like I was 29 going on 60! Ha!


I took a tour pause from Up with People to crown the next Ms. Corporate America in Orlando, FL. Congratulations Kyra Coffey! Are you ready to become the next Ms. Corporate America? Apply online at www.mscorporateamerica.com.

I was also crowned the new Ms. Corporate America Ambassador 2016.



One more thing: I released my first round up expert post! My coach recommended that I connect with industry leaders and find out their best tips. So, I reached out (fingers trembling) and asked, “What’s your best advice for finding a mentor?” People actually responded. Here are their tips.


I was enjoying the pink sand beaches of Bermuda when I was notified that I was selected to be the dance intern for the remaining weeks of the Up with People World Tour.


So, I get to Helsinborg, Sweden and find out that my host dad’s name was Mike Dooley! Okay–maybe you’re not jumping up and down waving your hands like I was. And trust me, I didn’t do it went I first met him. I didn’t want them to think I was crazy! But here is why I wanted someone to pinch me: on January 1, 2016, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to meet Mike Dooley. Why was this important to me? Mike Dooley is the creator of the Notes from the Universe and I was selected to share how the daily notes changed my life. Click here. Not only have his inspirational notes helped me to achieve my goals, but I was surprised to know that I had so much in common with this man who lives in Florida.

Here are just a few things we share:

  • We have the same birthday. We were both born on February 7th!
  • We are both former CPAs. We even worked for the same accounting firm!
  • We were both active members of toastmasters and competed in the International Speech Contest.
  • And let me not forget to mention that I aspire to share my gifts with the world as an international speaker and leader just like Mike Dooley has.

To meet someone named “Mike Dooley” in Sweden was so surreal. It was like a sign that I was getting close to meeting the Author Mike Dooley.


I returned home from my six-month tour to celebrate my mom’s birthday. After being home for 30 days, I created a video to express my courage to leap and create a life filled with happiness. And guess what? The next six months were filled with beautiful surprises that I didn’t expect or plan for. But I was ready to receive it.


I hired another coach to help me achieve my new goals. My experience traveling around the world exposed me to one passion that I didn’t want to live without any longer: writing. So, I hired a coach who was a contributor for Black Enterprise to find out the basics for contributing to publications all over the web. I found accountability partners and committed to writing 500 words a day. I also started getting bookings for popular TV shows that were filmed in Chicago such as The Patriot and Empire. This helped me to obtain extra money while I built my consulting business.


I received my first client as a career journalist; I never thought about getting paid for writing. I just wanted to become a better writer and needed content to supplement my speaking services. I was also invited to do my first PR event as a contributor for Huffington Post. I was a featured panelist on the Buzzworthy PR Panel.


9-14-16: I received an email asking if I was available to be a Stand-In. “Of course!” Seconds later, I received an email stating this: “Charlene, you are in for a treat as you will be standing in for Phylicia Rashad of The Cosby Show Fame.”

Okay, just breathe, Charlene…

I received an email from the AICPA asking if I would like to be on the NABA panel and play “To Tell the Truth: CPA Edition.”

Heck yeah I do! Sign me up. Sounds like so much fun!

Heck yes, I do! Sign me up. That sounded like so much fun.

I was selected to go to the NABA Eastern Region Conference in Pittsburgh. Guess what? My non-traditional story as a pageant queen caused people to immediately take me out of the running as being a CPA. Stereotypes, huh?




I was a keynote speaker at Western Michigan University’s Women’s Leadership Conference. You can watch that here:


I finally met someone who was on my vision board: Mike Dooley! Mike is also a former CPA turned international speaker and author. Meeting Mike Dooley at the Soulapalooza in Orlando, FL was so surreal.

What a powerful conference full of like-minded leaders! Attending the conference helped me to increase my productivity and happiness. Of course, I had to write about it.

4 Goals You Should Add To Your To-Do List After Attending a Conference – Women on Business

4 Ways to Become a Confident Communicator – Your Coffee Break

3 Productivity Tools for the Business Woman on the Move – Women on Business

4 Morning Habits that Will Increase Your Productivity & Happiness – Women on Business

3 Ways to Promote Your Brand Without Saying a Word – Ms. Career Girl

I had my first Facebook Live Party with Caprice Smith, Mrs. Corporate America 2014!

And, of course, more writing:

4 Nontraditional New Years Goals that Can Transform Your Career – Women on Business

Need to Create a Powerful Professional Brand? Here are 3 Steps To Get You Started  – Your Coffee Break

3 New Years Goals that Most Entrepreneurs Haven’t Considered – Black Enterprise

Most importantly, I am thankful for the time that I had with my family. I had to make tough career decisions this year, but I always put my family first.



One of my articles was featured in Black Enterprise! Check it out here: Need More Career Fulfillment? Travel Before You Retire. After this, Black Enterprise published four of my articles in one month!

I also took on my first lead role in a student short film. Let the acting begin!

And, of course, I attending a lot of holiday parties and had to write content geared towards the career driven professional who was getting ready to venture out into the holiday party scene.

Office Holiday Party Tips for Introverts  – Black Enterprise

Don’t Get Caught Making These 3 Dining Etiquette Mistakes – Ms. Career Girl

3 Dining Etiquette Tips To Put Into Practice Before Your Next Holiday Party – Women on Business

4 Ways to Upgrade Your LinkedIn Profile Before the New Year  – Women on Business

I challenged myself to start writing more in August. From August – December 2016, I released 66 articles! That’s a lot for someone who usually writes 1-2 blog posts per month! I can’t wait to continue this journey in 2017.

Bye 2016. It was nice getting to know you.

Happy 2017! I look forward to the beautiful surprises that are in store for 2017! Did you reflect on your progress in 2016? What are your goals in 2017? I would love to hear about your year. Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Charlene Rhinehart

I’m Charlene - International Speaker, Published Writer, & Career Strategist. I help women skip the most common career mistakes, move from fear to confidence, and enhance their professional profile so that they can create a life that is better than their dreams.

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