Meet Leslie Charles

Leslie’s story starts humbly: two-time high school dropout, wife and mother of three before she was old enough to vote. Divorced in her mid-twenties with a 10th-grade education and no work experience, she managed to find clerical work paying a wage just above the poverty line.

A struggling single parent, Leslie’s first step toward self-improvement was a big one, taking the GED (high school equivalency exam), with no prep, passing it on the first try. Scores in hand, she approached Social Services, declaring, “I heard you have a program for people like me—I want to improve my life!” Attending Lansing Community College on a welfare grant, she completed her associate degree with honors.

And improve she did, rejoining the work world with a better job and better attitude, eventually launching her business with a big dream and small list (two clients). Leslie’s speaking career blossomed while she completed her B.A. from Michigan State University.

Thanks to repeat engagements and referrals, Leslie’s career flourished. Her groundbreaking book, Why Is Everyone So Cranky? positioned her as a stress expert with appearances on national TV, radio and print, including a USA Today cover story.

An award-winning author and speaker, Leslie jokingly calls herself as “a good bad example,” but people say she is inspirational. From a rocky start to semi-rock star achievements, one of Leslie’s friends calls her story “The road Les traveled.”

During the pandemic lockdown, Leslie’s determination and creativity led her to a part-time job in the care facility where her mother resided so they could see each other. Her “Activities” position involved keeping residents’ spirits up and she did the same for her coworkers, remaining in that position until her mom’s passing.

Leslie Charles finds ways to do what she loves. In her most recent reinvention, she brings her professional skills to a highly personal venue, gently intervening in people’s lives when they most need comfort.

Besides providing programs as she’s always done, Leslie now applies her speaking, writing and communication skills conducting memorial services. As a certified Life-Funeral Celebrant she brings support, guidance and inspiration to families experiencing loss, grief and final goodbyes.

In her spare time, Leslie enjoys reading, cooking, birdwatching, walking, working out and throwing things—via the little-known sport of disc golf—in which she holds a world record.

A Sampling of Leslie’s Clients
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • National Association of Insurance Women
  • National Institutes of Health
  • University of California Riverside
  • Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Michigan Health Information Management Association
  • The Humor Project International Conference
  • Michigan Veterinary Medical Association
  • Clinton, Eaton, Ingham Community Mental Health Authority
  • Michigan Funeral Directors Association
  • Honor Community Health
  • Women’s Council of REALTORS
  • Melanie Ilene Rieger Conference
    Against Violence
  • Crime Victim Advocate Networks,
    Oregon and Michigan
  • 92nd Street Y

Experience, Awards and Memberships

Experience and Accomplishments

  • 30+ years: training, keynoting, facilitating, consulting, coaching
  • Member, National Speakers Association (NSA) 1982 —2017
  • Earned: Certified Speaking Professional designation, NSA
  • Elected: NSA Board of Directors, served two 3-year terms
  • Founding member, twice past president, NSA-Michigan
    1983 – present
  • Two years of national media attention (TV, print, radio) with Why Is Everyone So Cranky?

Awards, Distinctions, Accomplishments

  • Outstanding Alumni, Michigan State University Communication Arts
    & Sciences
  • Distinguished Alumni, Lansing Community College
  • Communication Achievement Award, Toastmasters International
  • Career Woman of the Year, National Association of Career Women
  • Diamond Award, Michigan Society of Association Executives
  • NSA-Michigan, Charles Leadership Award
  • Legend of the Speaking Profession, Veteran Speakers Network

Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Volunteer, Greater Lansing Area YWCA
  • Board Member, Lansing Community College Alumni Association, Commencement Speaker, Volunteer Speaker for LCC
  • Board Member, Volunteer Speaker, Women’s Center of Greater Lansing
  • Board Member, Capital Area Management Services Condo Association
  • Chair, Meridian Township Communications Commission
  • Perennial Poll Worker, Meridian Township
  • Volunteer source for fundraisers and special events

What Clients Say