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Exploring Life & Business with Christene Marie of Starin Strategies

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christene Marie. 

Hi Christene, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Born and raised just outside Baltimore, Maryland, I possessed an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, founding a camp for young girls at the age of 12 (a young girl myself!) Over the years, I cultivated a robust understanding of social media, traditional media, communications, and digital marketing by way of working at respective nonprofits and marketing agencies. The experience equipped me to start my business in 2019 and provide integrated branding and marketing services for organizations making an impact in their communities. 

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, my team and I managed a Fortune 50’s Health Worker Innovation’s Resilience Collaborative digital marketing campaign targeting 10 countries, guided strategic marketing initiatives for organizations that powered the distribution of food to millions, and brought awareness and education surrounding disparities of COVID-19 funding to disadvantaged and underserved communities of color. 

In addition, I led training for USAID’s Farmer to Farmer program in Honduras, oversaw the social media strategy and storytelling on behalf of the Kellogg Foundation’s initiative to bring equitable opportunities to persons of color and children living in poverty, guided the strategy and execution of NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund’s new Marshall-Motley Scholarship Program, and coordinated the marketing campaigns raising awareness of abuse in the Catholic Church during the 2018 scandal in Pennsylvania. 

In 2021, my brother and I joined as partners in the family business, Hoffman Painting & Finishing, which celebrated 100 years in 2022. It has been an honor to closely witness the dedication to excellence and customer care my father holds and walks out every day. His example has served to only further propel my own personal commitment and the commitment of my team to the same values: the highest standards of excellence and deep-seated care, as exhibited by emotional intelligence. The latter has been a theme lacing throughout my professional and personal life over the recent years and is one I am now speaking on nationally and internationally. 

In fact, the value of emotional intelligence is guiding our rebranding efforts – to be announced at the close of Q1! I am honored that through the expertise and guidance of my thoroughly exquisite team and myself, organizations have clarified their brands, established strategic direction, and achieved bottom-line goals that have allowed organizations to access new markets, audiences to emotionally connect with powerful messaging, and international new-to-market products to be successfully launched across the nation. However, most importantly, companies have been transformed into powerful brands that shine in their industry and continue making a life-changing impact. 

Adding entrepreneur, CEO, and Founder to my life story has been quite a journey! And even more so acting in my debut feature film, The Christmas Couples Retreat, which was filmed at Gramercy Mansion at the start of the year. Weaving together the creative, artistic elements with the A-type, entrepreneurial elements catalyze interesting stories and provide visibility into so many types of individuals. Intermarrying these experiences facilitates a greater understanding of hearts and minds, and souls so that, ultimately, we can meet them with empathy at every touch point of their journey. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Embracing discomfort and leaning into uncertainty have catalyzed the most extraordinary opportunities and paved the way for beautiful albeit surprising relationships, circumstances, and new endeavors. 

I learned this life-changing lesson through just that: life change. When we continue to exist in the same cozy parameters based on familiarity and comfort, the new inputs and opportunities necessary for significant growth and expansion – both personally and professionally – are less likely to arise. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Starin Strategies provides brand clarity and marketing strategy for organizations that make a significant impact in their communications. Working together with our partners to power the world’s leading brands, such as Amazon, the Kellogg Foundation, and NAACP, as well as Baltimore-based brands, such as The Canton Group and Bloom Health Centers, we are privileged to play a role in leading communications and marketing to further propel the difference they are making on a colossal scale. 

Our process is based on an empathy-driven approach, becoming intimately acquainted with the values of both the brand and its target audience so we can bridge the gap – highlighting the internal and external transformation that occurs when services, products, and offerings are utilized. 

Upon the clarification of the brand – its message, story, services, and target audience – we develop a tailored marketing strategy with intentional KPIs based on bottom-line goals to ensure the right message is delivered at the right time to the right audience across the right mediums. Subsequently, we activate our team, our partners, or our clients’ in-house team or vendors to execute accordingly. 

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I would be remiss to not acknowledge the powerhouse of a team that serves alongside me! Every day, I am blown away by not only their expertise but the alignment of values which we share. Countless marketing agencies populate the market; the differentiator is not only the approach but the people. And I have found this to be true on a daily basis as I witness firsthand their commitment to our shared values of excellence and emotional intelligence. 

As business owners, we are nothing without our people! And I am truly grateful. 

In addition, through the journey of leaning into uncertainty and the discomfort – I have been enfolded into numerous communities of highly successful entrepreneurs and executives who are mirroring the path to success and taking me right along with them. The question of “Who is on my bench” is absolutely critical for one who holds dreams and a vision of creating impact. This is my wholehearted desire, and I am that much closer due to the community surrounding me! 

Finally, I have been sitting with the concept of a mother’s love of late. During a recent interview with Gary Vee, he noted the critical importance of a mother’s position in a child’s life. I have been truly loved, and for that – I am forever indebted. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Brandon Burgess
Jon Meadow
Victor Ju
Keith McCutheon

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