1. Give us your background. Tell us your story.
“I’m a native Detroiter, born and raised. I went to school in Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. I majored in marketing with a minor in international business. My goal was to do multicultural marketing and that’s also why I pursued both of those degrees. I thought I was gonna move back to Detroit to like work on fancy auto campaigns and advertising campaigns for the big three. And I began working at the Detroit regional chamber for commerce. I was 23 years old. And I ran their young professionals program and I was their special projects coordinator so I did a lot of the miscellaneous stuff. Kinda what I do now. So I started their young professional program called fusion, and I ran that for a few years. And a bunch of other things which I’m totally losing track of. I just need to look at my resume. Then the chamber decided to not have a young professional program and so then I became like independent like an entrepreneur did freelance consulting. I’ve also worked with what was called Detroit Works Project which is now known as Detroit Future City. Before I was a part of their like civic engagement groups and so from basically 2010-2016 I was doing stuff with Detroit Works Project. Then I did stuff with the Michigan Black Chamber, Ponyride, the major’s young professional cabinet [along with some other things]. And yeah then I started working with Build in 2016."
2. So did you have a goal when you were jumping around?
“Mm no it was just kinda in the network of folks I knew. It all kinda still revolved around small business development, community development, economic development so all those roles kinda they all had a link one way or the other which is kinda what we’re doing here at Build."
3. You played lacrosse in college too so how did that play into the picture?
“yeah haha so I played in middle school, high school, and two years of college so that was 9 years I physically played. When I graduated from college I started coaching so I coached for 10 seasons at Gross Point North High School and then I stopped coaching there and in the process I was doing youth development stuff in the city for 9 years since 2009. But now I decided to launch Detroit City Lacrosse as a formal organization now that a lot of things in my life have settled down that I can focus on it.”
4. Did you ever consider playing lacrosse as a profession?
“Not they just started having a women’s professional league but they didn’t have it before. I don’t think I was that good though. I might have. I don’t know. Not really. No. I don’t like to work out that hard I just like to have fun. In my head that sounds awesome but then in my head it’s like no it wouldn’t be. “
5. How’d you end up working for Build?
“April gave me a call up one day. So I knew her husband I knew him when I was actually working at the Detroit Regional Chamber because that’s when Model D kinda started around that same time when I was there. So yeah she gave me a call and I asked if I was looking for new opportunities and I said yup! And it was something that I like to do I like business and community development.”
6. Was it hard to jump around a lot?
“I mean most of them were contract. The only two I was salaried was the regional chamber and here. So it was difficult because it was contract but yeah. It’s only difficult for a little while. If I didn’t budget correctly. It trains you how to manage your money better because you’re on your own.”
7. What’s an obstacle or hurdle you’ve had to overcome in pursuit of your goals?
“I mean there are a lot of them. I’m tryna think of a big one. One that happened a lot before was that people would always say I was so young and ask why I’m in certain roles. Well I’ve been doing this for a while so I have a lot of experience. You might see my age or you just think I’m young and I ain’t young no more. There’s always this you seem so young thing. It motivated me because after running a young professionals organization it’s always been about empowering gen y’s x’s and millennials because you shouldn’t let your age hold you back. Running that organization didn’t allow me to you know be deterred. But when people thought I was young but now when people think I’m young it’s hilarious because if you think I’m 20 something I’ll take that all day. Sometimes being a younger female it’s one of those constant demographic battles that have to be fought and you have to prove yourself. They aren’t gigantic horrible obstacles but it’s about changing the status quo.”
8. How did a Detroit play in a role in all of this?
“Definitely growing up here because I always wanted to come back here after school. I always saw the potential and knew Detroit was full of assets and world leading institutions, companies, people, etc. I think I had a chip on my shoulder a lot because I was like yeah I’m from Detroit. Honestly, it influenced me to move back to do something but clearly there was another plan and path for me.”
9. How would describe social entrepreneurship?
“I would say it’s a business with a social conscious.”
10. What’s your favorite part about working at Build?
She said the people were her favorite part!
While this interview was pretty short, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to bits and pieces of Christianne’s story because I thought it was fascinating how she handled things. She’s always maintained her passion for community development and lacrosse, and she also recently started a lacrosse club in Detroit. I think it was just interesting for me to hear a first-hand experience of someone not following a clear-cut path but still enjoying the process.