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Davis is a majority owner of First Independence Bank in Detroit, Michigan- February 14, 2019
Christie Sithiphone Was Born To L.E.A.D
Christie Was Born To Lead as a First-Generation Laotian-American
Christie Sithiphone is the Director of Programs for LEAD Atlanta, a non-profit organization for young professionals in the Atlanta area, where she “plans programs for LEAD, facilitates the selections process and grows the LEAD Atlanta alumni association.”
On her Big ‘Bounce Back’ – Christie became involved with community-based nonprofits through her own “personal failures.” In 2012, she had difficulty pursuing her MBA and decided to take a break, while focusing on her community. Shortly after her break from her degree, Sithiphone was nominated to be the Personal & Professional Development Chair for the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals (ULGA-YP), serving in the role from 2014-2016. It was that experience and exposure that helped her land her current role as the Director of Programs for LEAD Atlanta, which is the young professionals program of Leadership Atlanta.
On Having ‘like-minded’ Friends – With her accomplishments, there were some drawbacks. She explains, “It makes me anxious to be so visible [in my career], and it makes me more conscious of my personal brand.”
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a major part of success and motivation for Christie as she discussed sharing the same beliefs as her friends. “For me, success is when I have been able to pay it forward and when friends and community people around me find success,” Sithiphone said.
Her heavy involvement with her community has also helped to find her purpose. “I think that discovering your purpose is a journey. I know that I have the potential to make a positive impact, no matter how big or small. At this moment, I believe I have the power of connecting people through strengths.”
The Work/Life Balance Myth – Even in her personal life, Sithiphone has faced some harsh realities that some do not always recognize and respect the strength and success in a woman of her stature. “Even with dating, it’s hard to be a young, confident, strong woman. As humans you want companionship, but you don’t want to compromise who you are. As a strong woman, it’s hard to find that balance.”
On being a First-Generation Laotian-American – Sithiphone, the first born in the first generation of a Laotian-American family, had to overcome personal struggles that helped her to become who she is today. “I was fulfilling what my parents wanted me to do so I’d be a doctor or lawyer. It was very stressful having Asian parents,” Sithiphone said of her uncertainty about what to study in college or as a career.
She later cited her parents as her biggest source of motivation. “I am an Asian-American; my parents were immigrants from Laos in the 1980s. After the Vietnam War and the effects of communism had its affect they came here with nothing; [my parents] didn’t speak English, and had to pick up a new life. That always keeps me grounded. A lot of what I do is for them to keep them happy and proud. ”
Believing in the power of community, being a woman of color and an advocate for communities of color, she also believes we all have the power to make a change while leaving a positive impact on others.
On Being a Woman On-The-RYSE – “I feel like I am a woman on the RYSE because I’m constantly learning, and I want to bring people up with me and create leaders. It’s all about paying it forward and creating legacies,” she later added
As the next era of her life begins, Christie Sithiphone can’t help but be proud of what she’s accomplished thus far.