Onward: Announcing Startup Institute New York

Today I am excited to announce that I am joining Startup Institute as Director of their New York program. Formerly known as the Boston Startup School, this company is reinventing post-grad education and providing a gateway to the startup community by helping young professionals align their passion with their profession through the pursuit of a meaningful career.

For the past year Startup Institute Boston has shepherded students through their 8-week curriculum giving them the skills to have an immediate impact on the startup they join, whether in marketing, sales and business development, product and design, or web development.  The program teaches not just cutting-edge content specific to each track, but also offers cross-track opportunities and fosters the soft skills you often don’t learn until you’re on the job (and you screw up).  I think this is why they have been so successful, and why their students go on to get snapped up by the most interesting and innovative startups. (They have a 94% placement rate to date.)

Continue reading

New Year, New Adventure

Happy first day of 2013! I hope you all had a wonderful night celebrating the close of one year and the launch of another.  I was lucky to spend it with some pretty amazing women I’ve met in the New York startup community who have become great friends over the last twelve months (Rachel Sklar, I’m looking at you babe…)

As I was reflecting on the year, I couldn’t believe how much I learned, who I met, and what I experienced in 2012. I launched a company, opened an office, raised venture capital, hired a team, got us national press in newspapers, magazines, and television shows, and helped some women feel amazing when they got dressed for work. This was a year of fitness achievements too with two half marathons and my first Olympic-distance triathlon. I also got some quality time with several girlfriends who have been in my life for over a decade, and had the opportunity to join the boards of two awesome nonprofits I adore: Interlochen Center for the Arts and Camp Interactive.

Continue reading

If a tree falls in a forest, but no one posts it to Instagram, did it happen?

Confession: I have recently been accused of being exasperating online.

The charge, leveled by a former classmate with whom I have not stayed well connected, was that I only share the shiny, wonderful moments of my life on Facebook and he resented the apparent filtering I had applied to my not-so-shiny moments. After my initial thought subsided (“unsubscribe from my updates then”) his comment lodged itself somewhere on my things-to-write-about list and after considering it all week I decided to do so.

Continue reading

Yes, and…

A few weeks ago the NYU Stern Undergraduate Women in Business board of directors participated in an improv training session, led by a former-actress-turned-communications coach. This session grew out of an ongoing conversation I’d had with the ladies following their March conference, wherein they had expressed discomfort with speaking up and asking for what they wanted. (Here’s the blog post I wrote following that conference if you’re interested in the background story.)

Continue reading

It’s all about your frame of reference

I’ve had a rough week. But before we get to that, let me tell you a story.

Two years ago I climbed Kilimanjaro. On January 9, 2010 around 6:30am local time I reached the summit, which is the highest point in Africa. If this were a movie and you started watching at 6:27am you’d see one of the biggest highs of my life over the following three minutes of film. But if you started watching at, say, 3am you’d see a very different Christina. You’d see an extraordinarily strong woman about to crumble like a pile of Girl Scout cookies.

Continue reading

What is your verb?

One of my Twitter crushes, Whitney Johnson, recently posted a question from a session at BIF7 asking, “What verb makes you happiest? How do you conjugate this verb for as long as possible?” It was a fascinating question, and reminded me a passage in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love in which the Julia Roberts’ character tries to figure out what the word was that best described New York (achieve), Los Angeles (succeed), and Rome (sex). It was an important moment for Gilbert’s protagonist because, after a devastating divorce, she was struggling to determine who she was and where she fit in the world.

The question Whitney posed struck a chord because I realized it was a challenge to apply the same logic from Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love to building a career path — determining the defining verb of what makes us happy and using that to chart a course for our professional lives. It makes so much more sense to me than defining it through an industry or a function. It’s the verb that describes what you want to do all day long, once you strip your work down to the core.

Continue reading

The virtue of scarce resources

In the startup world a lot of noise has been made about the Lean Startup Movement, made popular by Eric Ries, first through his blog and, most recently, through his best-selling book.  One of the tenets of a Lean Startup is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which he defines as the “fastest way to get through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop with the minimum amount of effort.”  I won’t go into the MVP too much, mostly since I can point to other blogs who have done it far better than I could (like here and here).

Continue reading