Leveraging Connections — and Knowledge — to Succeed

A 2011 graduate of LIM College, Christina Hammond is a published writer and a full-time freelancer who specializes in entertainment marketing and events. She’s worked with brands, organizations and companies such as NBCUniversal, the United Nations, and Samsung, and counts LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Fast Company, Google, Forbes, InStyle and others among the brand partnerships and media placements she’s developed for her clients.

An aspiring international humanitarian, Hammond has volunteered as an English teacher in Naples, Italy and as an event producer in partnership with the City of Bridgetown Humanitarian Assistance Foundation in Barbados.

As a new mom, Hammond began an online children’s book club (which was featured on Beyoncé.com) and she donates baby essentials and books to families in need on a monthly basis. With her nine-month-old daughter Tristyn as inspiration, Hammond officially released her first children’s book, “Dear Little Black Girl,” this September.

Here, Hammond shares insights into her career path and how her education and work experience shaped her work life.

WWD: How did your coursework and experiences at LIM College help inform your career decisions?

C.H.: During my junior year at LIM I had the opportunity to hear public relations guru Kelly Cutrone and Amy Astley (who was editor of Teen Vogue at the time) speak. These are not typical opportunities for college students!

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LIM College made sure we had the connections and were equipped with the knowledge to succeed in the fashion industry and in the field of marketing. I value every class that I took and every internship that I did. Each left a lasting impression and has had a major impact on the choices I’ve made in my career.

WWD: If you could go back in time and give career advice to your younger self, what would you say?

C.H.: My first advice would be to remember that sustainable success takes time. In this day and age, we see a lot of overnight success, leading us to compare our own success rate. It’s important to learn how to continue to grow and maintain that success. It’s worth way more having a solid blueprint, then building as you grow.

My second piece of advice would be to not limit yourself to one industry. We are all given multiple gifts, so use them. As a marketing specialist, I’ve been able to contribute to campaigns not only in entertainment, but also in the mental health space, fashion and the events field.

WWD: How would you describe your career path? What were some of the challenges you faced?

C.H.: My career has been a true roller coaster. When moving back to my hometown of Washington, D.C., after college, it was very hard to find a job in my desired field of entertainment marketing. Because of that, in the beginning I had to work jobs that didn’t fulfill me.

One day, I decided to quit my job and freelance, while taking an internship at a recording studio for $50 a week. It was when I decided to freelance that I began to feel like I was walking in my career purpose. With freelancing, I’ve had to fund a lot of my own projects. So while I did face some financial challenges, being able to do something I love overshadowed that burden.

Through entertainment marketing and p.r., I found my love for writing. I went from being published on hometown blogs to having my work appear in major publications. Did my pitches always land? Absolutely not. But it was the love of being able to tell stories that encouraged me to keep going.

The thing about a roller coaster is, even though it can be scary, the thrill drives you to take on the challenge — and maybe even find a ride that’s scarier to get on. In the theme park of my career, I keep finding new rides to get on and conquer.

WWD: Have you had mentors at LIM or in the industry? If so, how have they helped you?

C.H.: As an event marketer and manager, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Aryn Chapman of Ax3 Studios. She’s had clients from Mastercard to Louis Vuitton but has also taught me no project is too small to take on. She’s taken me under her wing and continues to help guide me through the event production industry. She gave me a chance as a production assistant six years ago and since then I’ve gone to work with a wide variety of people and companies including the U.N.; Jessica Clemons, M.D.; Arrow + Phoenix Swimwear, and the City of Bridgetown Humanitarian Assistance Foundation in Barbados. I am thankful for her as a mentor, colleague and friend.

At LIM, M.T. Teloki in the Office of Student Life is heavily involved in student success. He cares about the students even after they’ve graduated. I’ve had several opportunities post-graduation because of him that have helped enhance my career — everything from speaking engagements to press. I’ve also been able to connect with current students. It feels good to be able to give back to an institution that gave so much to me.

WWD: What advice would you give someone considering a career in the marketing and entertainment industry?

C.H.: Develop great and lasting relationships with those who you work with. Whether they are the executive assistant or the chief executive officer, give every person the same respect.

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