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How To Use Pageantry To Climb The Corporate Ladder

Oftentimes, when people question why they should enter a pageant, some choose to enter for personal gain or to get fit. Others choose pageants to help launch their career goals in the entertainment business as a singer or actor. While the majority of women enter pageants for the latter reasons, there are some interested in using this industry to launch a career in corporate America and to help them successfully climb the ladder to break glass ceilings.

It is time to seriously dig deep to determine what your passion is and make the tangible steps to accomplish your dreams. If a career in the corporate world excites you, you are not alone. I sat down with Ms. Corporate America 2015 Charlene Rhinehart to ask about how she used this platform to launch her own business, Career Goddess Academy.

Rhinehart left the accounting business after seven years to travel the world and create a consulting company of her own. In total, she spent 10 years in the corporate world earning two promotions in four years and decided to leave ahead of her third promotion. Now, she is an entrepreneur and helps other women excel in corporate America.

Charlene says pageant girls train harder than other employees and they are ready for anything thrown there way. A skill most needed in the corporate world
Charlene Rhinehart, Ms. Corporate America 2015.

Pageantry has helped Charlene climb the corporate ladder faster than her peers because she learned how to be a problem solver and could take on any task presented to her.

“The corporate world is very male dominated so pageantry helps build confidence and develop those soft skills needed to achieve,” Rhinehart said.

Soft skills include communication skills, teamwork, flexibility, problem-solving and conflict resolution. These are personal-driven. Hard skills are things that can be taught and require specific knowledge, i.e. how to use excel, mathematical skills and knowing a different language.


Think of your pageant interview as a job interview. It helps to prepare you to show your best self to your potential employer. Iris Mittenaere shares her interview with GMA in her Instagram account @irismittenaeremf
Iris Mittenaere shares her interview with GMA on her Instagram account. Photo: @irismittenaeremf

Rhinehart told us that some advantages pageant contestants have over other candidates are their drive and intelligence.

“You develop interview skills. Pageant girls research their system inside and out; you can’t go in there blind, you have to research what the organization is looking for,” Rhinehart added.

She suggests bringing up some challenges they may be facing and communicate how you are able to help them.

Also, like the interview room during competition, Rhinehart says the judges want your bio sheet to come alive.

“It’s not really about your resume,” Rhinehart said. “They want to know who the person is behind the interview. Pageantry taught me how to be able to share more of myself in a short amount of time.” (Read: 5 Tips to Nail Your 60 Second Pageant Interview)

On-stage questions determine who wins versus the runner-ups. Learning to speak on your feet is a skill needed both onstage and in the workforce.
Learning to speak on your feet is a skill needed both onstage and in the workforce.


I don’t know a pageant girl who doesn’t love to talk and when it comes to the onstage question. Rhinehart says this skill is one of the most desired in the workplace. (Read: 3 Simple Tricks to Mastering Your Onstage Question)

“When I started the process I had to become comfortable speaking extemporaneously,” Rhinehart said. “I worked with Toastmasters, which helps you think on your feet. When you have a presentation your credibility is determined by how swift you are on your feet and how knowledgeable you sound. You can’t be filled with filler words like ‘um’ because you will sound unsure of yourself.”

She added that you may be a minority in meetings and work with people who are in a different generation than you, but, like pageants, you have to be able to talk with anyone.

“Even though they were right next to me, I was more comfortable using the computer to communicate but they valued face-too-face interactions … most of the conversations weren’t relate-able so I had to find ways to connect with them immediately,” Rhinehart said.

When it came to talking to her boss, she was transparent about her goals.

“You have to be bold and willing to take more risks and ownership in your career,” Rhinehart said. “Be open and willing to communicate that plan. I defined my goals a lot better and communicated that to my managers.

Asking For Help

No matter how much of a veteran you are in the pageant world, we all started somewhere and asked for help along the way. Winners don’t win the crown on their own; they have a village surrounding them. This is exactly how Charlene was able to advance so quickly, by asking questions.

“I didn’t ask too many questions; I thought I was supposed to know everything,” Rhinehart said. “Time is money and your managers will want fast results. I asked questions to people who I trusted like a coach or mentor. It’s the same in corporate America, you need mentors that you can rely on to help you.”

Curiosity is important for people interested in corporate America because that is how you are going to expand your network and your skills set.

(Interested in a career in the entertainment industry? Check out Inside Edition’s Megan Alexander talk about how The Experience of Pageantry helped her reach her goals)

6 Tips To Turn Your Goals Into Reality

Now is the perfect time to really work for that position you want. You have to define what your career ambitions are and see it through. Rhinehart offers these additional tips to help you climb the corporate ladder.

1. Know what it is that you want. Don’t have blanket goals. What type of promotion do you want? Be specific. What does it look like for you?

2. Have a vision board. Post pictures all over the house. I became the person I was looking at on the wall.

3. Get a coach. If you have goals and it gets tough, you need someone who is going to kick your butt when you are lazy and help you remember your why. This is someone who can push you forward and will believe in your vision.

4. Never give up. It really takes patience. It took me five years to win my first pageant. Never let the fear of losses stop you. You have to want it so bad, a loss only makes your excited and eager to learn what you did wrong and compete again.

5. Write down your goals. Carry a journal with you and document your progress. When you see your accomplishments, the brain gets excited.

6. Set SMART goals and HARD goals. HARD stand for heartfelt, animated, required and difficult. These are emotionally driven goals, and you have a higher chance of accomplishing them. You put your heart into them. Curious about setting SMART goals? We go you covered. (Read: How To Set Achievable Pageant Goals)

We hope you are inspired to go after your dreams! If you have additional comments, let us know in the comments below.

Which dress do you like better?

One thought on “How To Use Pageantry To Climb The Corporate Ladder

  1. I’m so proud of you, Char!

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