Christina Victoria Gusby here! I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl. I have two sons, ages 23 and 19, both currently residing in New York. My 23-year-old son is an upcoming Actor/Model. My 19-year-old son is attending college pursuing his dreams of becoming a musician and creating his own record label.
I’ve worked over 20 years in the benefits administration health care industry. I’m a guru for commercial insurance plans, Medicare & Medicaid, government entitlement programs along with federal and state workers compensation; additionally, I was licensed in the state of Georgia as an Insurance Navigator for the Affordable Care Act.
I’ve always had a passion for cosmetics and began freelancing as a Makeup Artist in 2006. After a few years of practice, I began working as a Freelance Makeup Artist for MAC for about five years, which later provided the opportunity for me to work as a Business Manager for CHANEL for about a year.
During my work with MAC, my passion was fueled to be more than just a Freelance Makeup Artist. I decided to start my own cosmetics line “Christina Victoria Cosmetics” in 2013.
Next to makeup, my first love is music. I also absolutely love hair, fashion and shoes! I live for a good outfit honey! I don’t need a runway because the world is my runway!
About your career
I am currently working as a Manager in Benefits Administration. I’ve worked in management for the past eight years however I only recently discovered and understood my purpose as a leader about two years ago. In this discovery, I developed a greater passion for leading people and a value and respect for this position in my career. Being in a leadership position has prepared me even more so for my entrepreneurial endeavors.
I absolutely love being a leader because it provides me the opportunity to make a positive impact for others. One of my favorite quotes is “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley. However, my absolute favorite quote is “To Be an Empowered Woman, Empower other Women” by Nina Shaw.
My children are key to my desire to continuously drive towards success. Becoming a single, divorced mother gave me more drive and ambition to be the best I could be for my sons. Part of that focus was a commitment for me to further my education. As a single mother, I went back to school, to the University of Phoenix, worked two jobs and received two degrees; a Bachelors in Business and a Masters in Public Administration. I felt like if I could accomplish this, I could start my own business.
In June 2013, I launched “Christina Victoria Cosmetics.” I wanted to be more than just a makeup artist, I wanted my own cosmetics company. My mother inspired me when I was younger. She worked as an independent Sales Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. I saw how empowered she was as a woman and as an entrepreneur. It was important for me to have a career that I was passionate about and that did not feel like work.
For my brand, I created a mission statement that would truly represent what my brand is about, “The Glamforce Takeover.” This mission statement stands for, “Empowerment, self- love, respect, sisterhood and charity.” I wanted this to be purposeful for me and my venture.
It is a dream come true to be an entrepreneur and a minority Business Owner. As I navigate through these chapters of owning, running and building a business, I continue to stay focused and to be dedicated to my dream and passion of being bold enough to go, where no Makeup Artist, has ever gone before.
About yourself as a mentor
I’ve always believed in the importance of giving back and especially paving the way for young girls/women who looked like me. As a leader, I knew that part of my role was as a mentor. I’ve had a lot of life experiences that haven’t always been the best, but I believed in myself and worked hard to overcome obstacles and hardships. I knew that these experiences would allow me to be even more powerful and relatable when leading.
With this, I believe it is equally important to volunteer outside of the workplace, therefore I began to dedicate my time as an alumni mentor for the University of Phoenix. In addition to this, I served as the Vice President of Communications and more recently the Executive Vice President for the Jacksonville, FL Alumni.
I have volunteered as a Junior Achievement Academy Teacher/Instructor where I was afforded the opportunity to teach elementary, middle school and high school students about entrepreneurship. I also volunteered as a mentor for Generation WOW and a volunteer teacher/instructor for the Stewart Foundation who partnered with the National Black MBA Association.
I discovered the power that I have as a leader, stems from making an impact and having a positive effect on both men and women who looked nothing like me. Being a leader isn’t only about monetary awards, recognition or administrative tasks; it is about the relationships that you have and develop with people.
I know that I have made a difference, when I am able to make someone believe in themselves and their abilities; when I am able to recognize their talent and potential and coach and develop them to their next career; when I can have a real authentic conversation with them that is very relatable; and most importantly when they take the time to “Thank Me” and tell me that I have been an inspiration to them.
I believe my coach offering is most valuable and unique because of my real-life experiences and my willingness to always be authentic and relatable. I’ve learned that when I enter the room as a coach, a teacher, a volunteer or even as a leader, that I represent progress and infinite possibilities.