“I am proof that no matter what your age, you can always start over,”
Walethia was born on July 4, 1950 in Atlanta, GA. Her parents took part in the Great Migration, moving to Flint in 1953 to work in the factory. As the oldest of four sisters, Walethia remembers being the black sheep of her family – literally. “Obviously, there is a historically rooted stigma against dark-skinned women,” she says, “but this bias is prevalent in the black community as well. I had darker skin than my sisters, and I grew up believing – because it was implied in the African American community – that this feature made me less desirable.”
Walethia says that her lack of self-esteem directly influenced the decisions she made early on in her personal and professional life. When she was just 16, Walethia found herself pregnant. Although she married the father of her daughter, Walethia’s relationship with him lasted less than a year. This man was the first of three husbands who would abuse her, the third of whom she was married to for over 17 years.
“I felt that I couldn’t walk away, even if I was in pain,” Finally, Walethia broke her silence about what was happening at home. She walked away with the clothes on her back, and worked two jobs to get by. “This was one of my life’s lowest points,” she states. Realizing that she needed help, Walethia began attending therapy sessions and was diagnosed with manic-depression, also known as bipolar disorder. “Self-sabotage had undercut every project I ever started,” she says, “and I never knew why.
Therapy helped Walethia regain control of her life, and when she met husband number four, she knew that this marriage was for life. “I could trust myself to choose him, and I could trust him to value me,” she says of her relationship. “He is my best friend, lover and business partner all rolled into one.”
Walethia went to finishing school, and even began modeling. “That was the first I can ever remember being called pretty,” she says, “but I didn’t believe it.” Her success, although brilliant, was transient. “Every day was a fight,” The stress of an unhappy marriage and verbal abuse she says of her personal life, and eventually, her business fell apart.
As the president/CEO of Grace and Charm Academy, Walethia has built herself up by building up others. “I know from experience that words are powerful. They can make or break a person,” Walethia says. Walethia has skyrocketed herself to International acclaim. As a notable businesswoman, coach, speaker and author – she has written a book, titled Women Who Win: Business Etiquette that Leads to Triumph in Life and in Business, and co-authored three others – Walethia has received national recognition. Most recently, nominated for the Art of Achievement Award and crowned as a Pure Michigan Finalist.
“I want my story to motivate and inspire. I want people to think, If she made it, then I can make it too.”
Connect with Walethia:
Like her Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/graceandcharm
Feacebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/speakergraceandcharm/