Christine Andrukonis couldn't find a job where she could be her whole self and dedicate time to challenging work, her family, and her identity. So, she made a role — and organization — of her own. She's now the President and Founder of Notion Consulting, a growing change leadership consulting company.
Christine spoke to Fairygodboss about her experience founding a company, how she overcame the challenges of being a working mom and how she is actively effecting change in her life and those around her. Then, she shared her best piece of advice for women who want to make real change in their careers. Hint: creativity is key.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Christine Andrukonis
President & Founder, Notion Consulting
Greater New York City Area
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I suppose you can say that I began my career when I first became fascinated with Rosie the Riveter back at age 14. I originally thought I would become an employment attorney, but quickly realized that I am a leader and entrepreneur. I studied management, labor relations and organizational change in undergrad and graduate school. Then, I launched an official career in change leadership nearly 20 years ago. First in Human Resources roles, then as a consultant. Finally, I began my own business in 2015, and took on a business partner in 2018. Now, I spend my time helping executives mobilize their teams to create change, and building my own team to be a unique, modern workplace where people can bring their 'whole' selves to work every day. A lifelong learner and lover of academia, I also teach change leadership courses at Cornell University.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I am most proud of having started and grown my own consulting business. I had the opportunity to lead and grow a consulting business while under the Omnicom umbrella of companies, which was amazing. But having the opportunity to do it as entrepreneur was a whole different experience and has been very rewarding. I'm truly grateful to have a cadre of amazing talent and wonderful clients who have made it all possible.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
After coming back from maternity leave with my second child (who is now 4), I was finding it difficult to do change leadership consulting work while also maintaining an intense travel schedule and being fully present in the way I wanted to be for my family. I felt like I needed to choose one or the other. But soon, I realized that I could create a career in which both are true. It required a little creativity and experimentation, but it worked. I'm so glad I took the risk and tried something different, because now I do challenging and interesting work, and I'm present for my family in the way I want to be.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? Why?
Alex Trower. She's the EVP of Global Communications for The Estee Lauder Companies, and a long-time colleague of mine. She believes strongly in the growth of all talent, and creates a truly supportive and inclusive workplace. And she does this both in her words and in her actions. She encouraged me when I first started Notion Consulting, and it meant the world to me. She was even awarded the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award in 2018 for her outstanding leadership and the positive impact it has had on working women.
What do you do when you're not working?
I am a mom to my 2 children (8 and 4 years old), and a partner to my husband. I like hiking, biking and dancing. Plus, I have recently taken up tennis. I enjoy good food, wine and live music. And I'm always up for a stories that challenge my perspective and open my mind — I enjoy books, movies, articles, podcasts, etc.
If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?
There are so many! I suppose if I had to choose just one at the moment, I'd choose CNN News Anchor Erin Burnett. She is one of the youngest female news anchors on the major news networks. As an anchor, she has a great talent for leading a thoughtful conversation with anyone — and owning her power with strength and grace in a male-dominated space.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
Wide Open Spaces by Dixie Chicks.
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
My shopping vice: life adventures. Travel, entertainment, courses, books. If I won the lottery, after making some important donations and taking care of my family, I'd definitely be making some travel-related purchases and reservations.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Write your own story. Be clear about what you want and need, confident in your ability to attain it and get creative in making it happen. You do not have to fit into what already exists out there. If you don't see any options that suit the "whole" you, create the option you need.
Why do you love where you work?
I can be my whole self. And so can others. We are a warm and welcoming, yet rigorous and challenging place where people can truly be their best!
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.