Lead by Example
President of The Stevison Group and Sisterhood Showcase Organizer Christina Stevison on navigating change, one choice at a time.
Interview by Casey Hilder
Photo by Darius B. Williams
Since the loss of her mother, Sisterhood Showcase Founder Tina Birchett, in 2013, Christina Stevison has taken the reins of the annual event and worked to venture out on her own, leading with a goal of “creating event experiences that connect, engage, empower and entertain women.” This month, she shares her experiences as a modern businesswomen and offers a preview to this year’s upcoming showcase festivities.
Click Magazine: Tell us a little bit about how you came to be in your position. What was it like growing up and plotting a career path? Is this what you always wanted to do?
Tina Birchett: Watching my Mom start a marketing agency, magazine and women’s expo showed me I could do anything if I put my mind to it. I have always wanted to be in a position to be creative while helping people, Sisterhood allows me to do that and more.
In college, I once went to one of my professors’ office to fret over the fact that I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find a major that encompassed everything I wanted to do. I wanted to learn more about international business, I did well in the journalism courses I took, I enjoyed my psychology classes; I wanted to do everything and I was all over the place. My professor, Dr. Wilson, told me that in order to be a good CEO, you have to know how to do a little bit of everything so try it all and then try more things. He was right and that is exactly what I did. I have never been afraid to step out of my comfort zone and I am a constant learner.
CM: What have been the highlights and challenges since taking the reins of the Sisterhood Showcase?
TB: With this platform I have the opportunity to impact so many people, which is an honor and blessing. I am extremely blessed to be able to work on something I am passionate about professionally. I’ve learned new skills along the way and have had an opportunity to collaborate with a number of incredibly talented people.
We just completed a brand overhaul. We spent months researching, conducting focus groups and vetting recommendations. Change is never easy, but necessary to ensure longevity. I am very pleased with the outcome and so far our audience is, too.
CM: How do you maintain a healthy balance between work and life?
TB: Working out and eating healthy are very important to me. I try to run at least 4 times a week. I don’t watch much television, but I do make time for Billions (Lara Axelrod is my Shero). I also love spending time with my family and friends. They keep me encouraged and grounded.
CM: What was the most important thing you learned from your mother, Sisterhood Showcase Founder, Tina Birchett?
TB: Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in.
CM: What do you want to accomplish personally and professionally in the next year?
TB: Professionally, I want to continue to enhance my skillset. Personally, I want to travel more. I find inspiration when I travel.
CM: What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace in 2016?
TB: The gender pay gap, double standards, lack of opportunities and the list goes on.
CM: What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
TB: Realize that success never occurs exactly how or when you want it to. Seek people that have accomplished what you are trying to do. Study them, learn from their mistakes if you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you are chasing your dreams, you are bound to have a few setbacks here and there. Don’t be discouraged, it’s part of the process.
CM: What can attendees expect from this year's Sisterhood Showcase?
TB: To be empowered and entertained. My team and I have put so much into planning this year’s event, it’s going to be one for the books.
CM: Planning the Sisterhood Showcase is a year-round affair for you. What is an average day like?
I can honestly say no two days are the same. I could be planning a commercial shoot one day and then answering emails from sun up to sun down the next. I have grown quite used to hearing the words “ma’am, we have never done that before” and equally used to saying “okay, let’s figure it out!”
If you had to choose a second career, what would it be?
I would be a psychologist; I am fascinated by people. I am intrigued by what causes them to do things they do and what makes them tick.