Anna Charles

Anna Charles is an ex-corporate girl who loves cross-country road trips, minted tea and, after years of struggling to drink less, freedom around alcohol. She tells us that, “Changing my relationship with alcohol felt like such a miracle I ditched the corporate world and began coaching brilliant, high achievers who struggle with overdrinking.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.

I had a very normal upbringing in a loving family home and was encouraged to believe I could do anything I wanted in life (at a time when girls were still largely being encouraged to go to secretarial college or settle down and have babies). I studied hard and landed a great job in a Fortune 500 high tech company. That continued for the next 25+ years as I travelled the world and got promotion after promotion. Responsibility increased until I was managing hundreds of people and responsible for a $65 million P&L.

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”

For years I was a high achiever. I could set goals and accomplish them. But bit by bit over the years I had started to drink more and more. It was never some huge problem with addiction – more like I was drinking too much. But the thing that really shocked me was that when I decided I wanted to drink less I found it really hard. I would set goals to go alcohol free and completely fail at them. This being unable to follow through on a goal was new and unwelcome! But I was determined and when I finally did change my relationship with alcohol  (so that it became easy to drink less or not at all) it truly felt like a miracle. A miracle I had to share with the world, to show other high achievers that they’re not alone. That you don’t have to be alcohol dependent to want help, that you don’t have to go to AA and that you don’t have to reach rock bottom to want to change.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

I want to change the conversation around alcohol and remove all shame from it. Some people need help to drink less – so what? I’d also like to stop all the labels! Alcoholic, sober, teetotal, grey area drinker…. alcohol is the devil, alcohol is poison …it goes on and on and on. And I truly don’t find that any of it helps. So I want to stop pigeon-holing people.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?

When I was in corporate I worked in engineering departments where it was very male dominated. I would go to offsite leadership meetings (rooms of 20+ people) and be the only woman around the table. When the hotel staff wanted to check with someone about tea and coffee arrangements guess who they always approached?  Me! Even if they had to walk past 10 men to reach my seat. I think a lot of this has gone (which is good), but I reached the positions I did because of what I contributed, not the sex I was. So I think it’s simply about going out to do the best job and become the best version of who you are.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

You only fail if you quit and hope is not a strategy.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

We’re all going to die so just go out there and create the life you want to live. And if you find yourself in situations where you don’t know what to do here’s a tip: guess. Guess what you could do, do that, evaluate, adjust. Repeat. Keep moving.