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Behind the Movement: Sitting down with Director of Community

Community Team Member, Karen Arreola sits down with DD’s leaders and talks: being a force for good, contributing to a movement, and their next steps in the industry. 

Karen: Describe yourself in 6 words or less.   Christina: Driven, nurturing, resilient, hungry.  Karen: What has been taking up your days as of late? Christina: I’d have to say much of my days are taken up with home, with work, and with the world in general. There’s a lot of tag teaming being done with everyone around me to keep our eyes on what’s most important and our energy on what we can control. That also means I’ve been spending more time on developing and growing my impact in my community, specifically, empowering sexual violence survivors. I think people are ready to have the necessary conversations and take actionable steps to create social change right now. This in particular has been on my mind, heart, and schedule more. K: What gets you out of bed? C: If it’s not my little one making noise/singing/calling for mommy from her room 😊… it’s knowing my day has purpose. There is a lot of great but hard work to be done and I know that the earlier I get up and get started the more I can contribute. My parents emigrated from the Philippines and their words “we’re lucky to be here and you are lucky to be born here” will echo in my mind forever. That gets me out of bed.. knowing I have an opportunity and responsibility that I take very serious and am very grateful for.  K: Why a career in fundraising?   C: Let’s say I was sitting in a huge chemistry lecture on a Pre-Med track and I realized I didn’t love this enough to keep going. I dropped out of Pre-Med, became a Business major, and started leading a student organization that raised funds and awareness for sexual violence survivors. Initially I did it because it was important to my peers and I personally. But when you look around a room full of people who showed up, donated, and continue to show up… you realize and believe that people do care. It’s humbling and motivating at the same time. I wanted to pursue a career that calls people to turn their care into action, reminds us that people can do good things.. and even greater things - together. K: Why work at DialogueDirect? C: The first words that pop in my mind are “real change” because since day one in the field, I've known that the work I do is having an immediate effect in someone else’s world. Visiting the Philippines and meeting the little girl I sponsored made that belief come full circle. I’ll always remember that. My second why...would be growth. My own personal and professional development has been challenged and stretched - and to me that’s fulfilling. I get to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of before (anything to do with numbers!) and do things that were dreams of mine (lead a team and travel). Lastly but surely NOT least, the people. I work with people I believe in. They are a motivating factor when facing hard times. I look forward to those faces even if it’s just on Zoom now! K: What's the most underrated part about being a mother? C: All the things! But to pick one, learning. The exciting and cute moments of motherhood (little giggles, tiny clothes, baby cuddles) are definitely wonderful but the learning is what actually happens behind the Instagram photos.. and it is constant. I actually think that’s one thing I wish I would have mentally, physically prepared more for before becoming a mom. I to an extent knew my life would be completely changed, but you never know until you’re there and it also shifts your self-identity. I’m learning how to “play” again and then learning how to play the way that my daughter likes to. I’d like to say I’m a good communicator because of my career, but especially there I’m learning how to communicate to a little human who can’t exactly articulate her needs and wants. It makes me flexible, patient (as much as possible), and surely stretches my mind and heart to let her know that I hear her. Learning is the awkward, messy, not as “cute”, but absolutely necessary part that I love hearing about from other parents.  K: If your life were a song what would the title be? C: “Dream Lady, Dream” I have no clue what it would really be about but it would for sure be sung by Adele! K: What does your new role as Director of Community entail? Is that far off from your previous impact as Director of Recruitment? C: As the Director of Community I get to lead the way on growth that unites and empowers our team in and out of the field. The role drives me to foster an environment that supports our team as people first then professionals. Things like ensuring our Women’s Empowerment Group and Diversity and Inclusion Committee are more than “programs”, they’re foundations in our culture. It also entails driving our stance as a Certified B Corp and continuing to change our business in a way that continues to put purpose over profit. Then my goal is to clearly communicate DD’s overall message and voice so that our communities understand our mission and realize that they’re very much so a part of it. Most importantly it’s collaborating with the other Directors to put our values first. As the Director of Recruitment I was able to impact and shape our teams. Creating a dynamic candidate experience that welcomes new team members has always been important to me. Ultimately I helped guide Dialoguers into our community to find purpose in their career. So I’d say its similar since all of our roles drive the same mission, but will have very different opportunities that reach all ends of the business.

K: What are you looking forward to most within your new role?  C: Creating space for our team to grow in new ways. Our team has an amazing talent to connect to people and I’m excited to help all of us connect amongst each other, to our local communities, and to movements that we all value. Naturally anyone who works at DD is a passionate individual and is pretty involved in their own world. Everyone has such a unique perspective and experience. I'm excited to see how we can further meld together and inspire charity partners, the industry, and donors to be a part of that special community. I envision a community where people have a place that feels like home. K: Last Question: if you weren’t in fundraising where would you be? C: Dancing! Teaching and moving with people across the globe.

Stay tuned for more interviews in this series: Behind the Movement 


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