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United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.

Image Courtesy of Christie Ilardi

Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Christine B. Ilardi.

How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?

After graduating in 2004, I started off working with a Digital Content Management company - as their Marketing Director. Some of my favorite aspects of that job were the event planning, meeting with our clients face to face during customer service driven scenarios like workshops and “Lunch ‘n Learns.” I did that from 2004-2008. I took a break from full-time employment to be a stay at home mom from 2009-2019, but continued to work part-time for that same company through 2012, as well as working part-time for a local Home Staging company off and on since 2006 (doing marketing and social media). I currently work full-time (and remotely) for a marketing and advertising company, whose clients are in the RV vertical of the automotive industry.

How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?

I moved to Hampton Roads in the late summer of 1997. My dad was stationed at Langley, AFB, and I attended my final 3 years of high school at Tabb. While I moved to NOVA for college from 2000-2004 (I received my BA in English from GMU), I returned to Hampton Roads after I graduated…and have lived and worked here ever since!

What advice would you give young women going into your field?

If you are interested in pursuing a career in marketing and/or advertising, I would say go for it! If you enjoy being client-facing, working creatively with a team of co-workers, brainstorming ways to elevate your clients’ success, and staying up to date with new technology and ways to market in our new digital-forward world, then a job in marketing or advertising would be right up your alley!

Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as a professional? In what ways?

I would definitely say that parenthood has impacted me professionally! I was fortunate enough to have the option to stay home and raise my children, while also continuing to work part-time from home and receive an income. Parenthood became a priority over growing my experience or furthering my career, but it has been a decision well worth the trade offs. Those years at home afforded me experiences and memories with my children that are priceless!

What has been your greatest challenge and what have you learned from it?

While the work field has provided plenty of its own challenges, I would have to say that my greatest challenge centers around the breast cancer diagnosis I received in the spring of 2018. Cancer is a scary thing to face for anyone, and especially for a mother of young children. (My kids were 9 and 7 when I was diagnosed.) I was determined to not let the disease, nor treatment, deter me from doing all of my mom “duties.” It felt very important to still drop off and pick up my kids from school most days; to continue being a room mom; to pack lunches and attend grade level programs. I learned that not only was I much stronger than I realized, but my children had this extraordinarily large capacity to be brave and compassionate, even in the face of a deadly enemy, like cancer.

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