Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Christena Garduno, where we delve into the dynamic world of leadership, innovation, and strategic resilience. As the CEO of Media Culture, Christena has steered her company through the ever-changing landscape of the business world, making a mark with her adaptive leadership style.
In this insightful interview, Christena shares her wealth of experience, providing a glimpse into the strategies that have fueled Media Culture’s success. From navigating significant industry shifts to turning apparent failures into opportunities, she discusses the essential lessons learned on the journey to building a resilient and thriving business.
Christena opens up about the challenges faced by Media Culture and the strategies employed to not only weather storms but emerge stronger. Her thoughts on team building, personal resilience, and crisis management offer valuable insights for CEOs and business leaders navigating the complexities of today’s markets.
Join us as we uncover the leadership principles that have guided Christena Garduno’s remarkable journey and gain exclusive access to the wisdom that has made Media Culture a trailblazer in the competitive world of brand performance.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Christena Garduno: I appreciate you having me. Being here is a delight. I’m Christena Garduno, the CEO of Media Culture, an independent brand performance agency that has led the way in revolutionizing the performance marketing sector since its foundation in 1995.
Our agency’s goal is to protect the long-term viability of the brands we represent while simultaneously producing benefits that are noticeable right away.
We’ve continuously improved our skills throughout time to stay ahead in a world that is changing quickly. Our knowledge now includes a variety of media, and we’re dedicated to offering our customers cutting-edge solutions to meet their marketing goals.
Can you share a time when your business faced a significant challenge? How did you navigate through it?
Christena Garduno: Like many other businesses, Media Culture was impacted a few years ago by the quickly evolving advertising market. The effectiveness of traditional advertising methods was declining, while the digital space was developing at an incredible rate. We faced a great deal of difficulty as a result of this transition as we had to adjust to the shifting demands and standards of both the market and our clients.
Our reaction stemmed from our capacity to be flexible and resilient. We carefully considered our current plans and methods, and we decided to change course. In order to better comprehend the evolving digital world, we made investments in technology and analytics. We also redesigned our strategy for demand creation and brand reaction.
However, it went beyond simple technological adjustment. We also gave our team members the tools and training they needed to succeed in this changing climate because we cared about their wellbeing. We promoted open communication, a culture of lifelong learning, and innovative thinking.
We came to see that accepting change in our tactics and culture was crucial to effectively navigating this obstacle. It needed being aware of changes in the sector, having the fortitude to persevere despite setbacks, and being prepared to unlearn and relearn.
How has a failure or apparent failure set you up for later success?
Christena Garduno: Failures, or what may appear to be failures at first, are necessary steppingstones on the entrepreneurial road, in my opinion, towards success. In my early years as an entrepreneur, I learned one of the most important lessons from a perceived failure.
I was excited to grow our company at the moment, so I entered a new industry niche without fully comprehending its characteristics. Regretfully, the new endeavor was a financial failure as it failed to produce the expected outcomes. It was difficult and discouraging, to put it mildly.
However, I learned a few important things from this experience. Initially, I discovered how crucial it is to conduct in-depth market research and evaluate all potential risks before starting a new business.
This is now an essential component of our company plan, helping us to make wise choices. In a similar vein, flexibility is vital. Our company was eventually reinvigorated when we swiftly changed course and concentrated again on our core strengths and capabilities.
We were stronger and more resilient after going through this. We came to the realization that hardship could be overcome, which is a crucial perspective for business owners.
We were compelled by this experience to use creative thinking in order to find fresh approaches to our current company plan. We determined what potential remained unrealized and adjusted our efforts appropriately.
How do you build a resilient team? What qualities do you look for in your team members?
Christena Garduno: Success is largely dependent on creating a resilient team, which starts with choosing teammates that share specific attributes. My top priority is flexibility, or the ability to welcome change and perceive it as a chance for personal development.
Empathy, conflict resolution, and successful communication all depend on emotional intelligence. Since teamwork is essential, I search for individuals who can collaborate successfully, share expertise, and support group initiatives. Other essentials include self-motivation, an optimistic mindset, a strong work ethic, and creative problem-solving abilities.
Equally important traits are effective communication, a learning mindset, stress management skills, adaptability in work style, supportiveness, and integrity. These characteristics produce a well-rounded team that can overcome obstacles and prosper in trying times. It’s not only about personal tenacity; it’s also about the group’s overall strength.
How do you maintain your personal resilience during tough times?
Christena Garduno: Resilience on a personal level is a prerequisite for effective leadership in trying circumstances. I make self-care a priority by engaging in practices like exercise and meditation that keep me both physically and psychologically fit. It’s essential to have a network of people I can talk openly about difficulties with, be it mentors, family, or friends.
Having a growth mentality is really helpful; instead of seeing challenges as insurmountable barriers, I see them as chances to learn and develop. I stay upbeat and motivated with this kind of thinking. To make sure I’m not overburdened, I also assign tasks to my capable team members.
In the end, resilience training is about realizing the value of balance in both personal and professional spheres and persistently attempting to preserve that equilibrium.
What strategies do you use to manage stress and maintain focus during a crisis?
Christena Garduno: Effective stress management and staying focused are critical during a crisis. To keep focused and productive, I use a few different techniques. I start by giving task organization first priority and decomposing difficult problems into smaller, more doable tasks. This not only helps me keep focused on doing chores one at a time but also makes obstacles appear less overwhelming.
Stress reduction requires the practice of mindfulness and meditation. I can approach things with a new perspective when I take little breaks to focus and clear my mind. I also think delegation has great power. I can focus on high-priority activities because I trust my team to handle assigned responsibilities.
In a crisis, it’s critical to remain informed without being overwhelmed. I make certain that I have access to current, correct information so that I can make wise judgments. I also know when enough is enough when it comes to avoiding information overload and turning away from the news.
The secret is to be flexible in the end. I am aware that plans seldom work out in a crisis. In the face of difficulty, adaptability and a proactive mindset are vital. I’ve been able to control my stress and stay focused by using these techniques, which are very important in leadership situations.
How do you communicate with your team during a crisis?
Christena Garduno: In a crisis, effective communication is essential. Transparency and clarity are something I value highly when I’m speaking with my staff. I start by making sure that everyone is aware of the circumstances, how they affect our operations, and what must be done. To stop rumors and false information from spreading, I disseminate information as soon as it becomes accessible.
It’s essential to update the team transparently and often. To stay in touch, I plan regular team meetings or make use of communication tools. Team members can voice their concerns, ask questions, and provide suggestions for possible solutions during these sessions.
My communication technique heavily relies on empathy. I understand that team members can cope with personal difficulties during a crisis. I try to be sensitive to each person’s unique circumstances and provide assistance as required. The team feels more united because of this empathy.
In addition, I support an open-door approach that allows team members to speak with me directly about their ideas and worries. It’s critical that everyone in crisis circumstances feels respected and heard.
And lastly, I think about the future. I convey our perspective for overcoming the current issue while simultaneously emphasizing how important it is to confront it. Giving the group optimism and a feeling of purpose keeps them motivated when things go tough.
What advice would you give to other CEOs on building resilience in their organizations?
Christena Garduno: Building resilience in an organization is essential for navigating the inevitable challenges that businesses face. Resilience should be cultivated as a part of the company’s culture, starting from the leadership, and permeating throughout all levels.
Encouraging adaptability, resourcefulness, and a positive outlook creates an environment where employees are better equipped to handle setbacks. It’s crucial to invest in training and development, providing opportunities for your team to develop resilience skills.
This may include stress management workshops, leadership training, and programs focused on emotional intelligence. Equipping your team with these tools enhances their ability to weather storms and emerge stronger.
Effective communication is fundamental. During times of crisis or uncertainty, CEOs should be transparent and approachable, fostering open dialogue and actively listening to employees’ concerns and ideas. Setting clear, achievable goals, and promoting work-life balance are equally important. Celebrating small wins, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, and investing in technology can all contribute to organizational resilience.
Learning from setbacks rather than dwelling on them allows your organization to grow stronger with each challenge. Resilience is an ongoing process, and when it’s embraced by everyone in the organization, it becomes a powerful asset for overcoming adversity.
How do you prepare your business for potential future crises?
Christena Garduno: Preparing a company for potential future problems requires a diverse strategy. First and foremost, a solid crisis management strategy must be established. This plan should explain each team member’s duties and responsibilities during a crisis, as well as the procedures to be taken.
Consider several eventualities, such as economic downturns, natural disasters, or global health problems, and modify your strategy to address each one. Furthermore, it is critical to keep updated and constantly analyze market trends, prospective hazards, and developing technology.
Another important tactic is diversification. Spreading risks over several goods, services, or marketplaces can assist in reducing the effect of a single disaster. It is also critical to establish good connections with stakeholders like workers, clients, and suppliers.
During difficult circumstances, these ties can provide support and collaboration. Finally, investing in technology and innovation to simplify operations and adapt to quickly changing conditions is a proactive approach to prepare for any future disasters. A company may portray itself as more resilient and more suited to prospering in the face of adversity by embracing change and being open to new opportunities.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about leadership in times of crisis?
Christena Garduno: The value of adaptability and empathy in leading during difficult circumstances is the most significant lesson I have learnt. Being adaptable and receptive to change is essential when faced with hardship.
Leaders need to be prepared to quickly change course and make difficult decisions since crises frequently bring up unforeseen difficulties and disruptions. This flexibility together with an open and honest communication approach fosters trust among stakeholders and the team.
Furthermore, empathy is essential. Acknowledging that every individual is impacted by a crisis in a different way and genuinely caring about your team’s welfare will help to create a supportive and cohesive environment.
Leading with compassion—listening, understanding, and helping when necessary—is a great strategy for getting through difficult situations. In the end, crisis management leadership necessitates a blend of flexibility, compassion, and effective communication to steer a group toward stability and achievement.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Christena Garduno for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Christena Garduno or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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