This article is a part of our monthly Women Evolve(d): How She Did It Series
Each month we feature inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career change. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their career journeys! This month, we're proud to feature Christina Sanford.
Christina is a dynamic keynote speaker, author and master trainer. She delivers transformative keynote presentations designed to inspire women in leadership to lead lives infused with courage, character, and connection.
What is your personal mantra, mission or manifesto?
Courage | Character | Connection (The cornerstones of my mission) I inspire women in leadership to lead lives infused with courage, character, and connection to drive personal and professional transformation.
What inspired you to launch your current career/launch your business?
After founding and leading a nonprofit human services organization for about a decade, I was forced to closed my business. It was a devastating experience that shook me to my core. I lost everything. In the wake of that disappointment is where I found my gift of speaking and empowerment.
After closing my business, organizations and businesses starting inviting me to speak about trauma and how to help women and girls recover from it. After every talk, people came up to me with tears in their eyes saying how impacted they were by my presentation. I came to realize that speaking was what I was created for...that it was when I was speaking to audiences about topics that I'm passionate about that I felt the most alive.
After a few years of speaking locally and nationally at professional conferences, churches, and events, I realized that I wasn't getting any younger, and that if I didn't make an official shift in my direction at that time, it wasn't going to happen. So, I made a decision. Then I prayed for a door and began to prepare. The first door opened...and I haven't looked back!
What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities?
The naivete of opening a business in my 20's or 30's is no longer there. I have life experiences now that make me keenly aware of the inherent risks involved in starting again.
I am old enough now to know what could go terribly wrong. I am also more aware of my age and appearance, which are factors that must be considered since we now live in this information age in which visibility on social media (among other things) drives business.
While the life experience is an advantage as it relates to mitigating unnecessary risks, it also does a number on my willingness to "pull the trigger" on new endeavors.
What’s one intention you have for your work this year?
My primary intention is to only say yes to opportunities that honor my decision to move in the direction of my dreams.
What are you most passionate about right now?
Leadership, writing, and speaking into the lives of women
What does a typical day look like for you?
1. Wake up - Prayer and quiet reflection/Getting ready for my day 2. Making sure my son is on task for online school 3. Morning walk with husband (some mornings) 4. Delivering training, oversight, and leadership to the nonprofit I work for (my "side job" as I now affectionately call it :) 5. Mindless activity (watching a few minutes of Tamron Hall, The View, HGTV, or OWN) 6. Dinner 7. Evening power walk alone 8. Writing 9. Quiet time/Reading/Bedtime
What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year?
After making a clear decision to move actively and courageously in the direction of my dreams, I was asked to be the keynote speaker for a 10-week global health and wellness campaign aimed at providing global support for marginalized populations. I delivered a series of ten empowering presentations entitled "Journey to Destiny" walking the audience through the steps to removing the barriers that prevent them from walking in their purpose and living full, intrinsically connected lives.
That single opportunity catapulted my career as a speaker and trainer and opened numerous doors to increased exposure and impact.
Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support?
I have a wonderful group of college friends that I talk to regularly. We support each other in our personal and professional goals as well as in our life transitions. We meet a couple of times per month for book club. I have several other good friends who inspire me and support me in tangible ways in my desire to shift in this season of my life. I am so grateful for the gift of their presence in my life.
Favorite book, app or podcast? Book: Present Over Perfect (Shauna Niequist) Favorite Podcasts: On Being, Michelle Obama, Unlocking Us
You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? This is a hard one. Only one hour?! I'd probably spend it reading and napping.
The advice I wish I had given to my 20 year old self is… Don't be afraid to ask for what you want...in work, in your intimate relationships, in your spiritual life.
The advice I want to give to my 75 year old self is... Keep wearing your red lipstick and mascara- it matters!
Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be? Roar - Katy Perry
Best career advice for other women? Know your worth and walk in it. You don't need to hustle for something you already possess.
When did you feel you got “you” back?
What’s up next? My first book will be released in the spring. I am super excited about it!