GUYS! I am so excited to launch this series. Ever since having weightloss surgery I have found my voice when it comes to being a social advocate for other women. I love supporting my friends and other babes probably more than anything on this planet (aside from Andy & my dogs).
It is a blessing for me to introduce to you the first bad ass lady to be featured in this series, Christana Yebra. I am blessed to call Christiana one of my personal friends. Not only does she talk to me regularly through her crazy busy schedule but its her unwaivering and unmovable support of ANYTHING I decide I want to venture into.
Now that is a bad ass babe if you ask me!
Now I could go on and on about how much I actually love CY and her affection for corgi's and her daily dog petting quota. I figured I would allow CY to tell you about her, in her own words.
1. In your own words, tell me your story.
I feel like I've finally mastered this in a somewhat short form. I started out as a military kid who landed in my first civilian city in Texas about 16 years ago. I had made friends in every time zone by the age of 10 so spending the last 16 years here has truly made it home. I chose to study biology and chemistry in college after an incredible anatomy teacher in high school managed to unlock my hidden talent for all things neuroscience and microbiology. I almost failed my freshman biology course in 9th grade. So when I say my teacher unlocked my talent, she truly did. She would shape my entire career path by simply helping me to build confidence in my STEM skills.
I fell in love with medicine and after making some incredible connections in the Deaf and Blind community, I decided I wanted to go to medical school. Finding a physician who could communicate directly with these patients was a challenge I wanted to help solve.
My work in the emergency department of Medical Center of Plano would drastically change my pathway to medical school. I spent my time scribing overnight for exhausted ER doctors while also interpreting for Deaf patients. It’s here where I would meet an ER physician who would invite me to join the founding team of a medical startup building a mobile app. In less than a year, we would be acquired by one of the biggest health systems in Texas. I built, grew, and sold several more companies in the years following before taking on a new role with Vouch in February of this year.
I’ve spent my professional career connecting people to products, people to events, and now, I get to connect people to people in the most meaningful way. I knew taking the role of CEO of a dating app was going to bring about its own unique challenges. What I didn’t expect was the incredible honor I feel every day in this role. I’m creating a better, safer place to date.
2. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Music is one of the great things that can fire me up, bring me to tears, and unlock all my creativity all in the same song. Two words: Beyonce’s Homecoming. That show was more than just the outfits and choreography. It was the energy and soul. What would we be without those two things?
3. Name 3 women that inspire and influence you and explain why:
My mom. She’s been a champion for our family for so long. And despite probably being exhausted, she continues to be selfless, kind, and absolutely hilarious.
Any woman who has the courage to show the world both her triumphs and failures.
The badass women I know who lead companies, take care of their families (and pups!), and still find time to give back to the world.
4. Define a great leader. What are some traits great leaders possess?
I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what school you went to or what your resume looks like. If you can’t listen, you can’t lead. The best leaders I’ve been around didn’t shame me for my short resume or for my inexperience, instead they took my weaknesses and then gave me chances to grow and learn with them. Not alone.
5. What made you passionate about empowering/ supporting other women?
Feeling discriminated against for being a woman, by other women, made me mad as hell. Then I remembered what my anatomy teacher did for me. She unlocked my best talents, made me feel cool for being smart, and told me light my self-doubt on fire with a Bunsen burner.
6. What’s one leadership lesson you have learned in your life?
You can read all the leadership books and take all the courses and it still doesn’t mean a damn thing until you actually implement those practices and lessons.
7. What advice would you give others who feel that their voice does not matter?
It’ll matter to the right people. Find the right people. You’ll know exactly when you find them. It took me (27 years) a while to figure this out.
8. How do you balance it all? (work, school, activism, volunteering… etc)
I don’t know if I have the best balance, but I do my best. I’ve learned to prioritize my days. I reserve certain hours of the day for each of my companies and delegate when I can. I’ve also learned how to say no, a lot. I don’t take vacations. I work a lot of weekends. I probably miss out on a lot of “fun” but nothing is more fun than being able to give back to my friends, family, and causes I care about.
9. What brings you joy?
My life is somewhat chaotic, but in the best way. It’s always moving, always changing. One of the greatest joys in my life when I find a constant. A form of consistency. In physics and chemistry, there are always constants. No matter what the environment or elements involved, these constants are there. I think it’s why I fell in love with science. In my world, it can be a friendship or maybe a habit or routine. I’ve moved a dozen times. I’ve had multiple massive career shifts. I’ve been so grateful for the friendships I’ve developed and grown in the last few years as well as the consistent support those friendships have given me. Also, my bed and cute corgis on Instagram.
I mean come on! How amazing is she?! I mean I am fully aware that I am 100% biased on this fact but I have to give some love to one of my main babes, my biggest cheerleader, and honestly my inspiration. Not only do I wish I glistened like Christiana does (she doesnt actually sweat when doing ANYTHING), but I don't think I have explicitly told her how much I look up to her.
CY- Thank you for being such a fierce friend that I learned from you how to be a champion, not only for myself, but for other women in the community.
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