The sixth of 12 children in a boisterous family, Christine understood early on the value of service, leadership, and hard work. As a child growing up in Plymouth, Indiana, she tagged along with her Aunt Avalon to assist seniors with their Bingo cards at Miller's Merry Manor. In high school, she volunteered in her church youth group, served as a lector, and ran multiple service projects as a student leader. As a high school student, she was selected to attend Senator Lugar's Symposium for Tomorrow's Leaders and Indiana Girls State, at which she was elected a state officer. She also thrived in competitive sports, playing volleyball, tennis, and softball throughout her childhood. While keeping busy with all her activities, Christine also managed to start working a steady job at age 16. She stayed at that job for the next six years, all through high school and college, working her way up to a managerial position along the way.
After graduating as salutatorian of the Plymouth High School Class of 1981, Christine attended the University of Notre Dame as a "Notre Dame Scholar," a designation awarded to the top 20 percent of incoming freshmen. She paid for college with a combination of scholarships, grants, and financial aid. While at Notre Dame, Christine volunteered to work with autistic children as a weekend campus activity. A summer internship with the Elkhart (Indiana) County Health Department doing field visits for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food and nutrition program solidified her passion for public service, while her majors of American Studies and Computer Applications set the course for her business career.
Surrounded and supported by strong women such as her mother, Beverly, Christine also learned that women can make their own choices and can do anything they put their minds to. She and her sister Dana were the first women to serve as lectors in their church; Christine entered Notre Dame in only the 9th year of admitting women to the previously all-male institution. While studying at Notre Dame, she entered a brand-new program for liberal arts majors – Computer Applications. In 1985, Christine joined Arthur Andersen & Co. as a software application consultant for payroll, human resources, and employee benefits. As a woman working in a technological field, she witnessed the progression and impact of women in business: The year she joined Andersen, the company named its first-ever female consulting partner. By the time she left the company and moved to Michigan seven years later, Andersen hired just as many women as men.
As a young wife and mother, Christine continued to work full-time, both as a manager at Kmart Corporation and as a small business owner. She and her husband, Bob, have been Farmington Hills residents for 25 years. They have three sons: Alex, Andy and Bill, all graduates of Farmington High School. Christine has continued her work as a businessperson, community leader, and accomplished advocate, particularly in the arena of public education. She uses her skills and experience to bring common sense, balance, and civility to every debate in Lansing.
As a professional with 20 years of management experience, Christine understands the needs of the business community. Her expertise in business operations, payroll, human resources, and benefits made her an ideal consultant for companies that spanned the spectrum of industries, from tobacco and oil to hospitals and governments. Her clients at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) included Baptist Medical Center, Morgan Stanley, Lucky Grocery Stores, County of Milwaukee, Comcast Cable, and Jet Propulsion Labs. She later went to work for Kmart Corporation, managing the design and implementation of the company's corporate human resources system.
Through her work, Christine learned about the needs specific to each industry – not just in terms of profit and loss, but from a human standpoint. In addition to understanding the needs of corporate performance, she knows the importance of balancing those needs with measures that create a productive workforce, including health care, training, fair compensation, and privacy.
Christine has seen firsthand how technology, when integrated with successful business practices, can transform a company. Her firm belief is that you can't just have technology for technology's sake – it must be used to support best practices and employee relations. She put this belief to use when she left the corporate world and became a co-owner and lead consultant of a small business, based in Farmington Hills, in 1994. Her clients included Michigan-based Kmart Corporation, Domino's Pizza, and Masco Corporation.
Anyone who knows Christine can tell you that she doesn't hesitate to get personally involved to make her community stronger. As a member of the City of Farmington Hills 20/20 Vision Committee, she has researched issues in community growth, resident and business retention, career planning, and education. She and her fellow committee members presented recommendations to the mayor and the city council for growth and stability in our community by enhancing educational opportunities. She served on several executive boards, including the Michigan PTA, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Farmington High School Music Patrons, and the Mathematics Pentathlon Institute. She is also a member of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Club and the American Association of University Women.
Christine believes that a better future starts with a great education. To make that goal a reality for all students, she has worked with many Farmington Public Schools PTAs since her oldest son, Alex, was in elementary school. She served as the Farmington Area PTA Council's president from 2008 to 2011. As a founding member of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Pledge for Success, she has worked to promote lifelong learning in the community. Chris serves as the executive director of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation, working directly with community, education, and business leaders to make schools stronger through additional financial support, mentoring, outreach and extracurricular programs. She has lobbied the US House and Senate and the Michigan Legislature and presented her ideas to improve school funding, child nutrition, and parental involvement.