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creativity

Pickling, a random forest, elastic stories, and the importance of stretching your mind

When we started talking about pickling, a random forest, and elastic stories at work, it wasn’t a conversation about life off-the-grid; it was about writing code. My brain was stretched, expanded, and twisted over the next 2 hours as I furiously scribbled notes and googled terms I didn’t know so as not to disrupt the flow of the conversation. When it was all over, I felt like I’d taken a ride on the Kingda Ka rollercoaster at Great Adventure. Where were my land legs safely rooted in the world of design thinking, ROI, and NPV analysis?

This kind of experience, as confusing as it may be, is so critical for business and product people because we have to understand the underlying work that brings our ideas and decisions to life. Programmers are wizards of the humblest order. I marvel at what they do, and when I say that out loud, they say anyone could do what they do. That’s simply not true; they are talented beyond words.

This is exactly the world I love—drop me off in a foreign land where I don’t speak the language, and give me a deadline and a limited budget that I have to use to get back home to the world of designing something that delights a customer. And that’s exactly where I am right now. Home is on the horizon, and until I get there, I’m going to enjoy the journey and learn, learn, learn.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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