Lead a Gr8 Life

Christie Montoya is a General Manager and Retail Market Trainer for Ulta Beauty and has 8 years of retail management experience.  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from St. Edward’s University.  She currently resides in Austin, TX with her husband, Shane, and four year old son, Ryan.

I grew up, graduated from college with a great job, got married, and started a family.  I finally had it all, like I’d been dreaming of since finishing high school, but no one told me how much work it is to have it all!  They make it look so easy on TV!  As a wife, mother, and a leader at my job, I feel like I am a coach, teacher, nurse, student, friend, maid, nurturer, counselor, mentor, cook, personal shopper, chauffeur, boss, rule maker and so many more.  At times, it is easy to wonder how it is possible to balance all these roles without sacrificing your dedication to any one of them.  Trying to find the answer to that question is very overwhelming and one that I have struggled with for years.

When I enrolled in the Gr8 Women Leaders program, I was looking for ways to improve my leadership skills and advance my career, what I got was so much more than that.  The program not only helped me to look at myself as a leader, which has ultimately influenced my career development, but it also forced myself to look at how I balance my life.  I’m a retail manager and that balance is not easy to come by, and I certainly was not doing a good job of seeking it out!

My biggest lesson throughout the journey in the program was that “what gets scheduled gets done.”  This is true in my professional and personal life.  At work, I now use my Outlook calendar in an efficient manner (it is even color coded) to ensure that I do not forget tasks, calls, and due dates, every day I make a to do list and highlight the three most important things that I must get done which helps me to prioritize, and I keep a work journal for reflection after important meetings and trainings.

At home, I am more aware of my family’s schedule.  I am making it a point to be better at being off for important family events (I was just at my father-in-law’s surprise 50th birthday party, and I think he was more surprised that I was actually there than about the party itself!).  I now put these events on my work calendar so that I can keep them in mind at all times.  I have become much more aware of how when I say yes to more responsibility at work, I am saying no to my family and must have plans in place to ensure that I can excel at both without sacrificing my dedication to one or the other.

I was looking to grow as a leader, but through the Gr8 Women Leaders program was able to realize that I cannot grow in my career without also prioritizing my personal happiness and life at home along the way.  It really is possible to have it all without feeling like you are being pulled in so many directions that you cannot dedicate yourself to all the hats we wear as women who are wives, mothers, and leaders in our careers.

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