Marissa Christie, Super-clever-go-getter

mcMarissa Christie’s official title is Senior VP of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Bucks County, but she’s more commonly known as the woman who succeeds at everything she goes after! I met Marissa years ago and was immediately impressed by her intelligence and her willingness to think outside the box. We’re so happy to have Marissa here today at Nerdy Chicks Rule to talk about mentoring, advocacy, and gourmet snacks…

As Senior VP of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Bucks County, you work on projects to help the community. What are your favorite things to advocate for?

That’s a hard question! I really care deeply about all of the projects I oversee, but I think right now I am most passionate about the Bucks County Women’s Initiative. It’s a great group of women who come together to make a difference in the lives of girls. We raise money and fund things like the #girlSTEM Conference to connect girls with women who work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math professions; a program called Empower U. that helps low income girls get fit; and Teens Leaning In to help young women learn confidence and leadership.

What kind of opportunities are out there to help empower girls to be smart (or, as we like to call it, nerdy)?

There are so many opportunities, formal and informal. Informally, I think my best tip is to find women who are doing interesting things and then ask a lot of questions. When I was in my 20s, I met this author at a book store. She really impressed me, so I asked if she would have a cup of coffee with me after her book signing. I asked a lot of questions and through that process, I got some really great, really empowering advice.

It may be a little nerdy, but sometimes you just need to say: “Hey! You’re interesting and you are accomplishing cool things. How can I do that?” Most people – especially women who have had great mentors themselves – will give you all kinds of helpful information and contacts.

That’s really great advice. Too many people don’t ask for help — when help is often just a question away! Moving on, though, what is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?

I was recently named one of my community’s “Forty Under 40”. It’s a list of successful, dynamic people who make a difference. I know I am on that list because I work hard and always focus on learning things that make me better at my job. Nerdy, but true!

That’s so awesome! But let’s change gears for a second…Tell us about a fictitious nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her.

Oh, man. There are so, so many. I guess one of my all time favorites is Meg from A Wrinkle in Time. She is so smart and so mathematically gifted, but she’s also really in touch with her own emotions.

Do you have a personal “theme song,” perhaps one that speaks to your inner nerdiness?

I love a lot of music, but I guess what probably speaks to my inner nerdiness most is my fondness for anything from the musical Into the Woods. I really like the song “Moments in the Woods.” Part of it goes:

Oh! If life were made of moments,

Even now and then a bad one!

But if life were only moments,

Then you’d never know you had one…

Tell us a four-word descriptive phrase you would like people to associate with you.

Super-clever-go-getter.

Love it! If someone gave you $75 and you could only spend it on you, what would you do with it?

I’d spend it on expensive gourmet treats at Whole Foods..

You are so smart — that’s a perfect thing to do! Can you tell us one thing you buy at the grocery store that you cannot live without?

Too hard! I literally eat anything and I am just not fussy.

Well, I guess we finally stumped you. 🙂 Thank you, Marissa, for joining us today. We really enjoyed talking to you!

To learn more about the fabulous programs Marissa works on, visit the United Way of Bucks County. And on March 13, 2014, Marissa and I will be at the Bucks County Women’s Initiative’s Shaping Futures: Mind, Body & Spirit event which will help to fund all sorts of pro-nerdy initiatives throughout the Bucks County area. Come join us!

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