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Meet Christine Simmons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Simmons. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Born and raised in Southern California, Christine Simmons learned the definition of diversity at a young age. The daughter of a skinny, white girl from Oregon and sister of three half-white/half Mexican sisters– living in a multi-ethnic household taught Christine tolerance, understanding, and acceptance of different cultures. Christine was not taught diversity and women’s empowerment but rather lived it.

Her innate understanding of difference allowed her to flourish at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she could be seen leading African-American student organizations or marching alongside her fellow student activists. Standing up for the rights of those within disenfranchised communities became a staple of her character and a theme of her career. As the former President and COO of the WNBA Champion Los Angeles Sparks, Christine prided her leadership style on being unapologetic and quite frankly bad-ass.

Christine is the COO of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, leading 200+ global employees and a $130M budget for this iconic brand with $1B Assets Under Management and 10,000 global members. In this highly strategic role, she facilitated the Academy’s strategic plan while leading daily responsibility for the organization. In her tenure as partner to the CEO, Christine led a multi-phased reorganization across several entities hundreds of employees. She created the first office of representation, inclusion, and equity and was instrumental in the Academy’s strategic inclusion initiative, Aperture 2025. Christine launched the Academy’s sustainability initiative and led the COVID response task force worldwide. Simmons has oversight of the Academy’s digital/marketing strategy, whose team increased social campaigns to 200M views. She joins with leadership in collaborative efforts to fulfill and further the Academy’s mission and governance.

Her dedication to excellence and passion for giving back has earned her a number of honors, including: Simmons was named a 2020 CSQ Los Angeles Visionary, was honored by the YMCA with their 2019 Brotherhood Award, named to the 2018 Ebony Power 100 list, the University of California President’s list of 2017 Remarkable Women of UC and the LA Business Journal’s 2016, 2017 & 2018 list of 500 most influential people in Los Angeles, and a 2017 WISE LA Woman of Inspiration Award.

As a relentless servant leader, Simmons serves as a board director for the UCLA Foundation, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is a former board director & chair of the UCLA Alumni Association, director for the UC Board of Regents and LA Sports Council. Additionally, she serves on the advisory councils of Next Play Capital; Shared Harvest Fund/MyCOVID MD, among others.

She also volunteers for Better Futures for Thomazeau, a small, grassroots nonprofit that provides aide and is currently building a vocational school in Haiti. Additionally, she is a mentor for Brown Girls Dream, a mentorship program designed to provide opportunities to young women of color.

Her proudest achievement is her amazing son Christian.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Raised by a single mom, Simmons didn’t grow up with a lot, yet she and her three sisters never wanted for anything. That being said, lack of financial resources instilled characteristics in her that have helped her thrive to this day: resourcefulness, creative solutioning, discipline, and the ability to relentlessly reinvent herself. The last trait especially served her well as she has had to do just that many times in her life. From her sports career being cut short due to injuries to not getting into medical school, Simmons had to reevaluate not only her paths but what was her life’s work. What she came to find out through her beautifully varied journey is that her true purpose has been the thru line, advocacy, and empowerment. That thru line has not only manifested in multiple ways, because of her ability to create new opportunities for herself, her impact has been bigger and wider than she ever imagined it could be.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
In addition to her role as COO of the Academy, Christine speaks nationally on topics such as leadership, monetization of Social Impact, empowerment, representation and equity, operational excellence, strategy, career development, living unapologetically, and much more. She has been featured in publications, national interviews, and podcasts.

Recognizing that, like her, too often so many of us apologize unnecessarily, causing us to not shine as brightly as we can, nor take up space Simmons launched a line of merchandise. Her hoodies, tees, and motivational dice, remind others like her to keep Living Unapologetically! Which she defines as Being Bold, Attacking Life’s Challenges in Extraordinary Fashion, & Loving Oneself – Flaws and All!

What are your plans for the future?
Simmons plans to continue to “operationalize the good” in all that she does. Whether it is the Academy’s strategic plan and social impact initiatives that she leads or her personal passions and motivational messages. She plans to continue serving on boards that align with her expertise and passions. She is also developing a career development online course as well as writing a children’s book.

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Image Credits
APRIL BELLE Photography https://www.instagram.com/aprilbellephotos/    https://www.aprilbellephotos.com/ABOUT

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