Christina Ballinger is a female entrepreneur, business owner and philanthropist that has produced some of New York City’s largest events over the past 15 years. She most recently operated, family owned Webster Hall & Webster Hall Entertainment. If you ever went to legendary concerts like Metallica, Green Day, LCD Soundsystem, Morissey or Lady Gaga, then it is likely you were in the midst of her handy work. Today she is gearing up into her new venture, Day One House, an Event and Digital Marketing Production company focused on businesses of all sizes to set their stage.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I pretty much came out of the womb in a nightclub and surrounded by a family of characters. Creative, fearless and a touch ‘quirky’ – I was raised in an environment believing that there was absolutely nothing you couldn’t do. If you want to dance, then dance! If you want to sing, then sing! If you want to change course, then change course. These are your instincts. Your FIRST instinct so follow it. This is your subconscious telling you what you need. So I guess this isn’t a story, but a teaching I will always hold onto (and very fitting considering my industry)! Follow the beat of your drum and keep a pep in your step. It may not always lead to a positive, but it leads you to where you need to be… and be damn happy doing it!
Can you share the hardest situation you’ve been through since you first started? How did you get through it and what lesson did you learn?
Oh boy, I would say the other year. They say when you make a transition (home, career, city, love), you do ONE at a time… well I did them all at the same time. I think as we get older and the experiences we go through naturally make us build walls and we don’t even realize it. We aren’t as adaptable as our younger selves were. I did this with point, purpose and a very big goal in front of me – the process of this was the hard part. To change course means breaking walls, breaking walls brings a level of vulnerability. This part made me uncomfortable. I’m a woman in what is still a very male dominated business so walls became my ‘thing’. Putting yourself in uncomfortable positions is how you launch forward and is worth EVERY moment of the emotional rollercoaster! Lesson learned: TRUST THE PROCESS!! Like a rollercoaster, it’s scary and fun at moments, but just throw your hands in the air and embrace every moment! At the end… what a feeling!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I started my serial entrepreneur career with an Event Production business and Sample Sale company back in Toronto. I then decided to join my family, who have been in the concert/nightclub business for 50+ yrs, full time in New York City to help operate one of our larger spaces, Webster Hall.
So to answer the question – what will make this new agency stand out? Simply my experience. Webster Hall was a rare opportunity that many people never get. I’ve worked side by side with some of the worlds greatest bands, DJ’s, agents, bookers, operators, event producers, brands and corporations. I’ve been trained wearing multiple hats, the Master of None and Master of Everything. It forced me to walk into everything with an open mind making my brain an endless sponge. I see how worlds connect like many people do not. The opportunity to share this knowledge through Day One and help bring fruition to companies of all sizes. Everyone can be a superstar.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on a few very exciting projects right now! I can’t speak about one yet, but a very interesting spirits brand hitting the market in September 2020. I’m also gearing up right now to brand and release a talented new artist – watch out for him @frankiesilvermusic, Webster Hall documentary release end of 2020 and currently considering a market expansion partnership with another digital branding agency.
Coming up May 12, 2020 I’m very excited to be working on the Safe Horizon Champions Gala. Safe Horizons is the largest victim abuse non profit organization in the United States helping 250,000+ each year. I’ve been on the LOH Board with Safe Horizon since 2015 and blessed to be able to contribute in various ways from producing events to running the NYC Marathon. I’m honored this year to be working on the Champions event! Please read more about Safe Horizon at https://www.safehorizon.org/champion/
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Simply, be grateful and support your friends, family, team and community. “The greedy man who doesn’t share his plate…will starve!” Remember, in order for you to be successful, others need to be successful!
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
The goal when you first develop your team, you place people based on strengths and plan to build on their potential. As projects get more intense, stress levels rise and sometimes frustration will get the best of you. There are times members of your team just aren’t the right fit… but sometimes you need to reel yourself back to realize everyone evolves at different paces. So before frustration makes decisions for you, as a leader ask yourself “Have I done my best to help them evolve?”. That is your point and purpose, so if you question this, circle back and re adjust.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Gosh, I wish this question asked for the top ten! I would say my family ALWAYS. Most recently, a couple years ago I was introduced to a magical friend. His name is Durek and he is a magical shaman @shamandurek. We were introduced as he was coming into Miami for an event, and even though I can’t say exactly what we spoke about, I feel like I had connected with an old friend from a past life. Oh yes…then he suddenly jumped into my head, tweaked the wires and blew my mind. When I was going through this recent transition I feel this friendship was a beautiful gift and I will always be grateful for this.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I aim for this every day. Even if this is just making a connection through a network that I feel will make beautiful things happen for people. Every day.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Be Humble and Keep an Open Mind: I’ve watched thousands of shows and met countless artists. Watching the artists that I knew were humble to the opportunity and fans in front of them, these were the bands that made the true connection of loyalty. Being genuine will stand the test of time.
Nurture Your Community: Remember the ‘Greedy Man’ as mentioned above
Ask LOTS of questions : Anyone who knows me will laugh when they read that statement! I am always asking questions, wanting to know the process of everything around me. We are always learning, and this is one of the best ways to self educate.
Keep Educating: Keep feeding your brain!! However you want to do this. Online, books, courses, I personally like the experiential approach as much as possible. Really ‘dive into the trenches’. Before I started into the F&B program I jumped behind the bar as much as possible to fully understand all angles. I just feel you can’t fully be successful in development until you understand all sides – so if you don’t know, then learn.
Lead by Example: I don’t think I need to pick this one apart…
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Smile at a stranger. Every morning I smile at a stranger (not creepy I promise!) We are all going through our stuff and it’s amazing how this simple act can change the course of someone’s day. Just try it and you will see what I mean! Oh… and dance it out daily. Do it for yourself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
HA! ‘There’s a method to my madness!!!’ I’m naturally an analytical person, but trained creatively. Sometimes my process can be very apparent that I’m constantly switching hats. I say this often more so as a friendly reminder to myself to be humble and trust my process.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Gosh I just LOVE speaking to people! I find them fascinating! My family genetics have the ‘gift of gab’…so whoever is willing and able:)
How can people follow you on social media?
Facebook: Christina Ballinger