As she ascended the corporate ladder, Christina confronted many commonplace struggles: doubt, anxiety, and the infamous imposter syndrome. Nonetheless, she persisted, learning to trust her instincts and take action, even if it meant doing something foreign, or simply being bold. When she neared the highly-coveted top, Christina looked at her surroundings, and wondered, “Is this all there is?” Since leaving Corporate America, Christina has opened her very own coaching business, which aims to empower her coachees to ‘live their best lives’ with intention and joy. Read more about Christina and The Road Uncovered below!
Miss Independent: Tell me about yourself!
Christina: I grew up right here in Boston! I went to Boston College for my undergraduate degree in the business school and headed straight into the world of Finance after graduating. I spent 10+ years in financial services between my time working in New York and Boston before I made the decision to become a life coach. It was a turbulent time including a sudden move back into my childhood home and a steady but swift rise in 6.5 years from contractor to head of my department. I left my role as the Vice President of Collateral Management services in March 2019 from State Street Bank & Trust.
Miss Independent: What would you say is your greatest passion?
Christina: My greatest passion is helping people. I truly believe in our individual abilities to make a significant impact in our local communities so I strive to live that every day. We have a choice in how we show up in the world. Knowing that we are capable of transferring our energies to each other, I think it’s so important to be responsible about the energy that we emit. It’s not to say that we should all be sunshine and butterflies, but rather to be focused on becoming our best selves every day. We get sucked into the hyperdrive of overachievement that sometimes we forget to enjoy the moment. We rush to the end goal without enjoying the view on our way there. My goal is to help people see all that they are truly capable of and to help them get there in any way I can. That applies to my coaching yes, but sometimes it is as simple as helping someone pick up something they dropped, or smiling as genuinely as I can in the moment at someone with whom I’ve met eyes.
Miss Independent: How did you start The Road Uncovered?
Christina: During my time at State Street, coaching was a skill I had to learn in order to be an effective manager. I was facing record attrition through all of my years there – sometimes employees only stayed for a mere 3 months before moving on. It was tough living through 12-hour days, calls upon calls with clients, and trying to set up systems when we were always so behind. Coaching as a management skill is so important for running a team, especially in that environment. I really think corporations ought to invest more in training in this area for middle management because there is just so much efficiency to be gained from clear communication. I have always believed that people are capable of more than they can imagine. Coaching is the tangible way I am able to help them realize their own power. It was needing to solve the problems in my corporate life that led me to this insight, and I am forever grateful for the discovery.
Miss Independent: What does The Road Uncovered mean to you?
Christina: The Road Uncovered is the name I had given my path a long time ago. I was clinically depressed for many, many years. When I began to emerge from that fog, I realized that there was a whole life being revealed to me, one that I had never thought possible, one that I had never claimed. It is the idea that I could be certain of where I was headed even if I did not know the details of how my life would unfold. So many people suffer as I once did. While I cannot guarantee my methods will work for everyone, it is my mission to help as many people as possible. Not only to lift themselves out of the fog, but to live the life of their wildest dreams once they are out!
Miss Independent: In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges facing women today?
Christina: Our biggest challenge as women today is our own programmed, limited thinking of ourselves. We should be amazed at ourselves for all that we are able to accomplish, especially under duress. The greatness of the women of the world has been so categorically down-played that we fail to see our own power. We are plagued by self-doubt and insecurity that even when we are performing better than others we see ourselves as deficient. If we are not careful, we pass this on to each other because social norms have made it difficult to acknowledge those that are out of the pack. We marvel at remarkable women as if that quality is unavailable to us, and we can become especially defensive in the face of it.
Miss Independent: What are some of the biggest struggles you’ve faced, and looking back, what did you find most useful in overcoming them?
Christina: The greatest discovery I made was that I have a choice in how I see my world. As I mentioned, I was clinically depressed for many years. A combination of dramatic events in my life and continued learning led me to question the myopic view of everything that I had taken. From a young age, I was fed the notion that being raised in low-income housing by a single mother meant something especially negative about me and my ability to succeed – indeed, my very self-worth. Changing the rhetoric in my mind was absolutely essential in my own transformation.
Miss Independent: If you could visit Christina Kwan ten years ago, what piece of advice would you give her?
Christina: I wasted so many years in anguish, but in so many ways it is exactly how my life needed to run its course in order to find myself here in this moment. If there’s anything I would tell her, I would assure her that it does get better eventually.
Miss Independent: What is your biggest ambition for 2020?
Christina: My biggest ambition for 2020 is to help as many people as possible lift themselves out of their own self-imposed limitations. I am working on a self-guided book that will help anyone looking to build their confidence and am continually adding resources to my website and Instagram profile. I have a goal to strengthen our young professional and female community in Boston through my Meetup group, Ladies Leveling up in Life. There are gradients to our experiences, but I truly believe we share more in common as women in this world than we think.
Miss Independent: How do you relax?
Christina: Relaxing for me takes many different shapes. It’s my brain that usually needs the respite so I make sure I allow myself plenty of time to enjoy things outside of work, whether that’s a new crafty project, cleaning my house, or taking nice, long walks with my dog, Frankie. Sleep is a huge priority and I make sure to get 8 hours every day. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned about relaxing is that unscheduled time goes a long way in helping me get creative again. I make sure to have at least one day of doing absolutely whatever I want to do once a week.
Miss Independent: What’s the best place you’ve traveled to?
Christina: I took a wonderful trip to Madrid a couple years ago. I had just started to learn how to speak Spanish so it was a delight to me to be immersed. It’s a huge city and it was super hot even in October. I tend to prefer lazy days on the beach for vacation but I really enjoyed getting to know the city and its culture.
Miss Independent: Who is your inspiration / biggest role model?
Christina: I would say the person who most inspires me is my big sister. She’s older than me by 9 years so she has always been that person I look up to. She is probably the most caring, thoughtful person I know. It’s so natural to her to think of others and to show her appreciation for them. It’s a quality I look to improve in myself so I admire her greatly for it. It’s easy to look to those in our world that have made it big and I do marvel at them too, but I like to think that we have heroes even in our midst. They make all the difference.
It’s been a true pleasure getting to know Christina through this interview as well as through other Boston organizations in which we are both involved. I am deeply comforted to know that people like her truly are out there, striving to make a difference in our shared world. For more information on her mission, be sure to check out theroaduncovered.com.