Meet Your Coach

Hi! I am Crenée Salone, creator of Courageous & Free Collective and CEO of BCF Consulting, LLC

Chronic Illness & Women's Empowerment Coach

Growing up a little black girl on the south side of Chicago, I was sold the idea of the “American Dream.” For me, that meant I had to survive my childhood (literally), work EXTRA hard in school, go to college, get a degree (or two), secure one of those “good jobs,” become a leader, climb the corporate ladder, make lots of money, buy a house in the best school district, retire and travel when I’m old. Whew! I’m exhausted saying it. I did it. I did it all…but I’m not old yet!

No one talks about what it takes to accomplish all the items on the long list of the “American dream” I had to be alive and healthy. What do young women think about being active and healthy at 23? What person thinks about illness, death, heart surgery, and having her lung reinflated when she’s one semester away from completing her master’s degree in Finance? Youth made me feel invincible.

At just 23 years old..

At just 23 years old, I was diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Put, my immune system can launch a full-on attack against my healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Lupus can affect joints, tendons, kidneys, organs and affect blood vessels. When I fell ill, I was a graduate student. Instead of spending my summer with friends and proving myself on my graduate internship, I spent my summer in and out of several emergency rooms between Milwaukee and Chicago. After spending over 30 days in the hospital, having 2 heart surgeries, a collapsed lung, and barely surviving, I finally received my diagnosis.

After 5 months of excruciating ..

After 5 months of excruciating recovery (including taking an ungodly number of steroids) , I was able to return to Florida A&M University to complete my last semester of graduate school and receive my MBA in Finance. I was committed to achieving the “American Dream” I’d been fed despite my disability that was invisible to most. I went on to have a kick-ass career as a finance leader and risk partner for several leading global organizations. I’ve travelled the world, confidently led teams and carved out a significant space for myself in corporate America for over 2 decades – all while managing my chronic health issues.

Back then,...

Back then, it certainly wasn't common to disclose a disability to your employer, so I hid my illness. This only increased my stress and compounded the hidden anxiety I had around my disease. My symptoms such as extreme fatigue and debilitating joint pain was only exacerbated by the stress of trying to hide it all from the world.

Nearly 10 years post graduate...

Nearly 10 years post graduate school, I married a long-term acquaintance who was widowed. Sadly, my husband’s first wife passed away 2 weeks after giving birth to their 2nd son, leaving him to raise a 3-year-old and a 2-week-old infant. We married nearly 3 years after her passing, and I instantly became a full-time mother to two boys under the age of 7. Within our first year of marriage, I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy despite my chronic illness, and we welcomed our 3rd son into the family.

I continued hiding my chronic..

I continued hiding my chronic illness in my professional life until I finally came to the realization that enough was enough. I made the conscious decision to step into my power and own my illness. I became my own advocate and learned how to be an exceptional woman leader living with a chronic illness. I began to see the support structure and essential coping tools I had around me both in my personal life and within the corporate arena. However, none of these tools would have been apparent or useful if I didn’t learn how to open my mind to the idea that I could build a kick-ass career and live a kick-ass life without hiding something as significant as a chronic illness.

I struggled with depression...

I struggled with depression, anxiety attacks, and heart-wrenching feelings of incompetence while I was hiding. It was mostly because I was living a placeholder life, and no matter how much I pretended and hid who I really was, I instinctively felt that I was meant for more than what society had prescribed me. My efforts and education have served me well over the years, but I was done pursing the proverbial “American Dream”. Instead, I am pursuing MY dream, being A Lioness Without Limits! I am a POWERHOUSE speaker, coach, and consultant available for keynotes and ready to transform lives and corporate strategies. I have combined my years of business, personal branding, travel, and wellness to create a program that caters to the 21st century woman with limitless potential.

Perhaps my story...

Perhaps my story sounds a little like yours, maybe we share some common experiences, and maybe this is the very first time you’re coming to realize that your power rests in your resilience and your ability be your own advocate! I was Born Courageous & Free and I'm here to help working professional women who struggle with invisible illnesses realize that they too were Born Courageous and Free and are destined to be their authentic selves!