Christina Sims on Transformative Decisions in Business and Life
Christina Sims is a personal brand and AI marketing consultant.
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey as a leader in your industry?
I'm a wife, mom, and entrepreneur from the Pittsburgh area, with a love for food and sports. My journey as a leader began at Seton Hill University, where I pursued business administration with a focus on Marketing and Human Resources. Despite graduating with an MBA during the recession, my initial role was as a secretary, which initially felt disheartening compared to some of my peers. After six years of persistence, I climbed the professional ladder, securing an executive-level position by the age of 30. A few years later, the life-changing experience of motherhood fueled my decision to establish a personal brand and marketing consultancy. In this venture, I teach women how to build profitable businesses and leverage AI without compromising their identity or overwhelm. Along the way, I've had the privilege of speaking on stages, receiving global recognition, and achieving international bestseller status as an author.
What specific experiences or decisions in your journey do you believe have shaped your approach to business and leadership?
Throughout my career, I mostly had faced being the only minority in the room and it has profoundly shaped my approach to business and leadership. The constant pressure of feeling I had to prove I belonged ignited a drive to elevate my contributions independently of any title. This experience taught me the importance of resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. As a result, my leadership style prioritizes inclusivity, acknowledging the diverse strengths each individual brings to the table, and fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered. These experiences have molded me into a leader who seeks continuous improvement and strives to create positive, inclusive spaces within the professional landscape.
Can you share a story of a pivotal moment in your career that led to a significant transformation in your business or personal life?
In August 2019, my life took a drastic turn when a routine stress test during pregnancy became a life-threatening situation. Despite his heart stopping twice, he miraculously survived. Two weeks later, I faced the challenge of returning to work prematurely after a shortened maternity leave.
Struggling with the aftermath of a difficult birth, I felt a profound sense of powerlessness and a loss of control over my life. This experience prompted me to make a commitment to never again have to choose between family and career and launched my business.
What factors did you consider when making that critical decision, and how did you weigh the potential risks and rewards?
As a new mother, my primary consideration in the critical decision was the impact on my family. With a newborn, my husband and I aimed to create a great life for our son so my greatest fear were the financial risks of my decision. However, I also valued the opportunity to be a present mom and wife while pursuing a successful career, seeking a balance that would ensure both personal and professional fulfillment.
What challenges did you face during this transformative period, and how did you overcome them?
Releasing the fears of failure & rejection were difficult. On the outside I put on a brave face, but on the inside I was drowning. Struggling with imposter syndrome, fear of letting my family down, and juggling new motherhood while working and building the business. It came down to knowing I had to make a choice: continue to let my circumstances define me or pick up my own pen and write my own story. I chose to be the author of my own life and fully own the life I wanted.
Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self at that time, or to entrepreneurs and business leaders who might find themselves in a similar situation?
I once read "If you don't take risks, you'll end up working for someone who will." Looking back, I'd tell my younger self and fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders this: Taking risks is crucial in business. But remember, it shouldn't come at the expense of yourself or who you're building it for. Don't get caught up in doing a lot; focus on doing things well. Success isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. Take your time, build quality, and the rest will follow.
How has that pivotal moment influenced the way you make decisions today, and what lasting impact has it had on your business?
That pivotal moment has significantly shaped my decision-making today, placing a strong emphasis on prioritizing meaningful experiences over financial gains. Having experienced burnout in pursuit of ambition, I now prioritize peace and cherish time with my family. This shift in perspective has had a lasting impact on my business as well, guiding it towards a focus on empowering women.
I aim to help them break free from the notion that success requires sacrificing personal well-being or family life. By promoting the idea that it's possible to be both successful and present for one's family, I strive to create a business that fosters freedom and flexibility for women building fulfilling lives for their families.
In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs and business leaders to have these transformative moments, and how can they best prepare for and learn from them?
In my opinion, transformative moments are integral for entrepreneurs and business leaders as they serve as catalysts for growth. Similar to a diamond forged under pressure, these experiences can shape us positively if we allow ourselves to be open and built by adversity rather than broken by it. The best preparation involves cultivating resilience and a growth mindset, seeing challenges as opportunities. To learn from transformative moments, it's crucial to take time to stop and reflect. As women, who often operate in high gear, these reflective moments allow us to recognize our growth, apply lessons learned, and navigate forward with our newfound strength.