As Salesforce’s Senior Vice President of Customer Marketing, Brand Sponsorships, and C-Suite Engagement, Cristina Jones is humanizing the conversation around technology. A storyteller at heart, Cristina launched Salesforce’s “Make Change” series to create a platform to highlight stories of ‘action leaders’ who are driving change in areas that need it most. In her Thrive questionnaire, she shares the small tactics that help her prioritize her tasks, manage stress, and stay optimistic.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Cristina Jones: I just got a new French Bulldog puppy, “Xavier.” I run to check on him immediately and scoop him in my arms. How can you resist this face?
TG: What gives you energy?
CJ: New ideas give me the feeling of tapping into the art of the possible. I can suddenly see 800 variations of a single concept. As a nonlinear thinker, I have to challenge myself to focus on the one possibility that fits the given situation.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
CJ: The strength of my relationships. I am able to call up anyone from my past at any time — that’s the standard of success I’ve tried to hold myself to.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
CJ: The Buddha Next Door by Zan Gaudioso — I read it until it fell apart and then got a new one. Buddhism offers the reminder your power is within you and not external.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
CJ: I no longer distract myself in bed with my phone — an exercise in remaining in the present. I try and keep my phone in another room connected to a charger.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
CJ: “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” — Rumi
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
CJ: Start by making a list. Crossing things off that list, you feel as though you are achieving something.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?
CJ: There’s time — I was always in a rush to finish everything and do everything.
TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?
CJ: Michele Bell from 20th Century Fox. I worked for her early on and she is unapologetically herself. She helped me give myself permission to be fully me. Michelle is married, has kids, has a full life, and a great career — and is truly happy.
TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?
CJ: I am an ideas person. When I get overwhelmed I get quiet. Silence is a signal that I need a moment.
TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?
CJ: Meditation really helps when we are feeling overwhelmed. It reminds us things are happening around us, but not happening to us.
TG: What makes you hopeful?
CJ: People — when you give up on everything and then you see the cutest story of kids believing in one another or a random act of kindness, it gives you hope.
TG: Fill in the blanks: People think I’m _______, but really I’m ______.
CJ: People think I’m extrovert, but really I’m introvert. In order to be great, I had to develop a more gregarious persona than I actually have. I used to avoid public speaking. After a panel, when I get notes from people who were inspired or felt seen — that’s what pushes me on. Representation matters and that’s what is crucial for people to see.
TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?
CJ: Short hair, don’t care.
TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?
CJ: Reading a book — they cover my nightstand. There is a word for piling up more books than you ever plan to read, “Tsundoku“, I am that. I get sucked in by packaging. Once a marketer . . .
TG: What brings you optimism?
CJ: People who are driving change. No matter how small. What if we all did one thing within our power to make the world a better place? When others think of me, I hope they ask themselves, “What could I do should I decide to not stay in my lane?”