Meet Charlene: A strong entrepreneurial spirit

Never afraid to try new things that interest her, Charlene S. builds a busy life for herself in Toronto, while supporting family back home in Jamaica

When Charlene told her mom and sister she would be part of an advertising campaign for Western Union, they couldn’t believe it.

“They asked me a lot of questions, like how it happened and how I felt about it, and I told them it was a contest,” she recalls. “They were proud of me and happy for me.”

Charlene, who was born in Jamaica and came to Canada when she was eight, lives in Toronto, works in marketing, sells accessories online, and has even been known to sing from time to time – mostly R&B and reggae. In fact, it’s this strong entrepreneurial spirit that drives her to try her hand at all sorts of different interests to keep her busy.

First time winner

Entering the Face of This Is WU was not her first contest – she’s entered online giveaways before and even tried out for Canadian Idol in its first year – but this is the first time she’s ever won anything.

When she first found out she could be one of the finalists, like her mom and sister, she couldn’t believe her luck either. She kept the news to herself until she got the call from Western Union that she had won $500 and the opportunity to be one of the five faces of the Face of This Is WU campaign.

Getting recognized on the street?

Now that she’s had a chance for the news to sink in, she’s really happy to have her photos featured along with the four other finalists on outdoor advertising across Canada throughout October, November and December.

“I pictured myself on pamphlets and advertising, and really started to get excited,” she says. “Then, to see myself on billboards is amazing because I know other people will see it.” Does she think she’ll get recognized on the street? “Maybe!”

Helping to pay for bills, school fees

Charlene uses Western Union regularly to send money to her sister, cousins and aunts in Kingston, Jamaica, whenever they need it. Her aunts use it for household bills and expenses, and her cousins put the money toward school fees.

Her sister, Anika, has used the money to pay for her education as well. Anika just graduated from law school in Kingston and is going to open her own law practice, bridging the gap in legal services people need between Kingston and Toronto.

Charlene couldn’t be prouder. And we couldn’t be prouder of you, Charlene!

Check back to learn more about the other Face of This Is WU contest winners, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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