- Founder, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker
Christina Lopez is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in the sports industry. She has participated in sports as an athlete, parent, coach, and official in team and individual sports at the local, collegiate, national, and international levels. Her people focused, sustainable, long term approach is often in direct conflict with established “best practices” of management yet results in the diverse, dedicated, and relevant workforce needed to navigate the 21st Century. With over 25 years in the tech industry, she’s developed this comprehensive diverse tech talent pipeline using cross industry ideation.
Born in Queens, NY – Christina was considered a hyper-active tom-boy. She loved to play outside running around, doing cartwheels, riding bikes, playing soccer, and skateboarding.
Her father died of his 8th heart attack when she was just 7 years old. He took her to many libraries and encouraged her curious nature. He had mentioned the Harvard 100 and she spent the next few years reading all of them hoping to find answers to the many questions she normally would have asked him.
Her family moved around a lot – flipping houses before it was a TV phenomenon. She had bad handwriting and at 8 years old fell in love with the fonts on computers. She has been hooked ever since then and her attention was always drawn to the latest and greatest.
She got an Apple 2gs when she was 11, aced her 8th grade programming class, and was often found in the library playing “Oregon Trail” and trying to design her own “tools” before shortcuts were the norm.
She finished her last two years of high school through correspondence school and took a semester of community college for Studio Art – initially hoping to get a degree in Graphic Art.
Christina learned to ski when she was 19. She spent over 100 days on the ski hill and became a ski instructor the next year. She also secured her first soccer coaching position for the local boys 17 and under summer team.
Christina continued to pursue her athletic career, competing and officiating both ski racing and cycling at the Empire State Games for a few years. She worked hard to become a level II PSIA certified ski instructor and National level certification with both the United States Ski Association and United States Cycling Association.
She hoped to be a cycling official at the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Olympics but they required too much time off from college and work. One of her greatest accomplishments was being the highest ranked women downhill race official at the Goodwill Games at Lake Placid.
She enrolled at Alfred State College for the first Bachelor Degrees they ever offered in computer science in 2001. She played D1 soccer 2 years (Alfred State is still considered a junior college) and was a residential assistant while she started and was president of the chapter of Association for Computer Machining (ACM).
Christina was a student ambassador and orientation leader where she learned she is an INTJ - a rare personality type, especially for a woman. She finally had an explanation for her lack of interest and inability to fit in. Eventually she learned to make it into a superpower.
She began working part-time as an intern at Alcas Corporation in 2003 and they bent their own rules to hire her full-time a year before she graduated.
It was time to update the ecommerce website as it was not able to keep up with the constant changes in browsers and database changes. She helped document the current processes and future needs. Many companies refused to bid and those that did, placed multi-million dollar bids but it would require all their programmers so it was difficult to name a start date. They also estimated the project would take two years to complete and were not sure they could deliver the full scope of the project.
Christina approached her supervisor and said that she could deliver the new website within a year if she could get an intern and another programmer. She suggested the senior programmer on the team be assigned to maintain the old site while the new one is built and tested on a staging server.
At the same time, Mike Marvin was considering a sabbatical to gain industry experience with the latest programming languages. An Alcas supervisor had taken a programming class with Mike and after a series of interviews, Alcas hired him and named Christina the lead for the project.
Christina designed a new way to handle requests and updates from the IBM AS400 system to the web servers. This core legacy system was designed to keep up with the constant changes in browsers and business processes.
In 2006, the website was delivered, on-time, under budget, and with many more features beyond the original scope. That website is still considered state-of-the-art to this day.
Mike introduced Christina to The Virtues Project™ in 2006 and she became a certified facilitator that same year.
It proved to be a catalyst for many successes in developing and maintaining inclusive environments.
Christina and Mike became certified Master Facilitators of The Virtues Project™ in 2012 giving them the authority train other facilitators.
Stay tuned for the story of how Boundless Connections took flight.
From 2013-2015, Christina coached the Jamestown Community College Women's Soccer team. She was shocked to see the difference between coaching boys and girls.
Christina suffered from endometriosis for most of her adult life and it became progressively worse. Doctors simply kept prescribing various brands of hormones which actually amplified the problem. By 2014, it was taking a toll on her daily routine and she was often immobilized with intense pain.
She finally found a doctor who took her seriously and she spent 6 months undergoing extensive diagnostics. Her internal organs were fused together with scar tissue. It took 2 surgeons over 8 hours to remove the scar tissue. Recovery was slow and it was over a year before she was able to have a normal day of activity.
The swelling continues to limit her ability to engage in the sports which were such a large part of her life.
Mike Marvin and Christina Lopez have 30 years of combined experience in the IT field where they began working together in 2006. Their shared interest in overcoming gender bias and stereotypes for both men and women helped them find solutions to gender inequities in a wide variety of settings.
They have developed strength based materials for corporate managers, college campuses, youth groups, rape crisis volunteers, and survivors of sexual assault and their families. Their blogs have been featured on The Good Men Project and they presented their keynote address on various college campuses including Stanford University.
At the end of 2011, the co-chair of the economic developer of the WNY held a meeting to hear ideas about developing a tech talent pipeline.
Mike and Christina mapped out their ideas on a whiteboard. Mike had two kids with tech talent and had always wished there were something in the area that could challenge them. Christina added her understanding of how the sports industry develops talent.
TECH Unleashed for 13-17-year-olds started in 2012 as a two-week summer camp. The following year, we started meeting once a week in addition to day camps during the school breaks. This was the first attempt at cross industry ideation.
Initially hosted at the local community college and BOCES, the need for a community technology center became evident. It was time to develop the younger age group programs which would feed into the proven teen program.
As soon as the pilot tech center was established, representatives from the NYS DDPC toured and asked if we could put together a similar program for inclusive 17 and over workforce development. They funded the first two years as a pilot program.
Stay tuned for the story of how Boundless Connections expanded to Rochester, NY.
Everyone has an ongoing pandemic story. Christina usually thrives under constant changes which is why the tech industry has held her attention. This was different. Unpredictable and no end in sight meant a major shift in approach and constant setbacks. This is not the forward momentum Christina is used to yet she continues to look forward with confidence she'll figure it out and learn a lot on the way.
Christina is ready for what's next and is starting the next stage of the plan by reaching out to businesses to offer corporate retreats. Eventually, this will lead to offering memberships as an employee benefit.
- Ologies (bi, psych, soci, tech, physi, etc.)
- Disruptive Leadership
- Cross Industry Ideation
- Tech Literacy
- Sustainable Solutions
- Talent Development