Christina’s career in advertising started back in the summer of 1977, after seeing the epic movie Star Wars. She promptly drafted and sent off a letter to the American Express Company, urging them to use Darth Vader in their famous “Do you know me? Many people recognize my face but don’t know my name,” campaign.
This garnered her a first rejection letter and a belt buckle (it was the 70s, after all). Armed with her belt buckle, and her love of Bewitched, (Darren being the consummate Ad Guy, and her first role model) she pursued her studies, graduated from Colgate University, and set off for New York City, where, after several tries in advertising, (Cox & Greenwald, Y&R) she landed at the doorstep of MVBMS, with an interview with S, (Schmetterer). He was so impressed with her (spikey 80s hair, or combo of Timberlands and black Armani suit as there was a blizzard in the city that day) that he offered her a job right on the spot.
“How much do you want to make?” Bob asked.
“I’d at least like to make my age,” she responded, thus launching her career in advertising.
As an account manager, she was crap (waitress, better clothes). But, she knew she liked advertising, and thought she’d like to be closer to the end product. She took a shot and asked Bob if she could move to production. To which he said yes, and she did.
Thus beginning her real career in advertising.
As a producer, she has worked on some of the most prestigious brands in the world (and managed to have two children at the same time, no small feat). This taught her invaluable skills of time management, budgeting, backward planning, hiring, firing, managing different personalities, collaboration, and listening). These skills became even more valuable as she contemplated her next career move.
Sensing that she’d like to do something more meaningful, she put her application into the New York City Teaching Fellows (A diverse group of individuals who are dedicated to raising student achievement in struggling New York City schools). She got an interview, and even better, got herself accepted into the prestigious program.
In exchange for working in a high need school (Bronx, 231 street) she was given a free Master degree from Pace University. After a dreadful year, she found herself at IS 289, the Hudson River Middle School teaching a precocious, lovely, motivated, and eager group of 100 twelve year olds who challenged, inspired and made her think differently every day.
(Me: Xiao Xia, that’s a beautiful necklace, are you writing about it in your writer’s notebook?
XX: yes. This necklace reminds me… of my childhood.)
It turns out teaching and producing require the same skills. Having to multi-task, keep controlled chaos, controlled, in a room where there are 34 twelve year olds (100 all together! Zoinks) all reading and writing something different with just one grown up, (gulp, me) requires nerves of steel and is infinitely harder than getting a film crew and a Volvo on the top of Mount Tamalpais at dawn. But, having dealt with creatives and directors with the emotional maturity of eight year olds was good practice for teaching. Production makes one a better teacher, and teaching, makes one a better producer.
Now, she finds herself in the middle of the woods, (Bethany Woods) with two cats, Roy and Hellen, and two dogs, Simon and Teddy. She types up Simon’s blogs, (giant paws, no thumbs) makes ciabatta rolls for the world, and tutors young people in reading and writing whenever, and wherever she can. She is both rural and urban and happy in either setting. You can find her at her website (), or in her kitchen.
She is a big fan of the semi-colon, and as you can see, the parenthetical sentence.