Words of Wisdom with Christi Black-Davis

Christi Black-Davis
Executive Vice President, Edelman

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career?CBlack

Here are two:

1. There will never be a perfect time to complete a graduate degree, travel the world, live in New York, or learn a new language, so go for it when the idea first pops up.

2. Invest heavily in Apple and Google.

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

I have been fortunate to have had several mentors along the way. Here’s some of the advice I’ve received. I’ve followed most of it.

  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Behave respectfully to everyone, and not just because the nerd may be your boss one day.
  • Assume that anything you say or write will be shared with people who you didn’t intend to hear or see it.
  • Don’t let bosses, clients, partners or sponsors be surprised by bad news.
  • You can’t please everyone, so don’t wear yourself out trying.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

I prefer to think of it as how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, rather than trying to maintain balance. The rhythm of work and life ebbs and flows. Some days are more about work, and some are more about other aspects of life.

When my children were young I often worked part time or on a flex schedule, which I really appreciated. I don’t know that I had balance. I just recall that I was very busy, very tired, and incredibly happy.

It is too easy for days and weeks to go by with little exercise, no time outdoors, or limited time with friends and family, which is not healthy for me. Therefore I have always made it a point to be actively mindful of how I spend my time. Each day I try to commit to doing what is important to me. However, I’m a realist. I evaluate my success weekly, not daily.

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, etc. that might help a young professional?

I suggest that professionals of all ages read for pleasure, whatever genre is interesting. Reading for pleasure helps your brain store ideas you don’t even know you are storing, and you’ll use them one day.

I also suggest that professionals read a variety of information about the daily workings of the world, especially from sources that don’t cover what you do every day. Blogs, news feeds, columns – the resources are endless. As with reading for pleasure, you may not even realize what important tidbits you are storing up. But you’ll think differently about challenges and opportunities or you’ll have new insights about business situations. It pays off.

How important is it to be involved in organizations outside of work (church, networking, philanthropy, alumni, athletics, etc.)? Why?

Involvement in organizations outside of work helps you frame a more accurate picture of the world. It also provides opportunities to meet people and do things that would otherwise not be a part of your experience. At the risk of sounding like a greeting card, I’ll say that cocoons are safe, but if you stay in one too long you’ll never fly.

What do you love about Sacramento?



Diversity of residents and neighborhoods

Welcoming, supportive attitude of business and civic leaders

Outdoor and recreation resources (open space, rivers, etc.)

Foodie stuff – restaurants, F2F, coffee roasters, brewers, wineries

Arts and the art community


Colleges and universities

The Kings and the River Cats

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?

Stay in the Sacramento region. Continue to build your future here and invite your out-of-town friends to move to Sacramento build theirs.

Ask for help when you need it, and be specific. General, open-ended questions are more difficult for mentors to address.

Finally – follow the Sacramento Region Brandathon on Facebook, and get involved this year as we take it to the next level.