Today we’d like to introduce you to Christiana Yebra.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have a unique background but not an uncommon story. I am part of a military family. I’ve lived all over the US and even spent some time in Europe. There was a time when I used to blame my parents for ripping us away from our friends and moving us every few years. Looking back at every move, every new school, every new friend, every deployment, I can now only thank them for giving my siblings and me incredible experiences and helping us develop a unique toughness.
I spent all of college dedicated to becoming a physician. I studied biology, chemistry, and medical anthropology while on the pre-medical track at the University of North Texas. My passion for patients began as I became more involved with the Deaf community in DFW. I had made several friends who described the lack of resources for their friends and family as it related to medicine. I spent four years learning two types of sign language including every medical term in attempt to be one of the select physicians in Texas who could cater to Deaf patients.
After graduating, I allowed myself a gap year between undergrad and medical school. I started working in an ER and trauma center as a medical scribe gathering all the hours of experience I could. It was during this time that I would receive an offer to join the founding team of an innovative healthcare startup. Accepting this offer would change the course of my entire career.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Our on-demand healthcare app was acquired by a major health system here in Dallas less than a year after we launched. For those not involved in startup world, this is an absolute rare occurrence. And while encouraging for these systems to take an interest in young teams and ideas, this partnership would prove to be incredibly difficult and would ultimately be the unfortunate demise of the company.
During the years developing, launching and growing this business, I’d experience an immense feeling of guilt and doubt. Had I abandoned my patients? Did we align with the right organization? Was I maximizing my skillset? Would I need to go get an MBA in order to advance? In this time, I acquired crippling stress-induced neck pain, lost touch with friends, purposely and hurtfully ended a relationship, consistently doubted my own value to the team and became a bit of an unhealthy workaholic.
There was a point where I let all the things I’d been challenged on – my age, my level of experience, my loyalty, become my biggest value propositions instead of my insecurities. Yes, I’m young but I can learn a new skill in hours, not days. Sure, I’m not a veteran marketer but I am ahead on all the latest trends and best practices. Yes, I backed out of medical school, but I’m dedicated to the long-term health of patients and now the long-term health of my customers and their businesses.
It was my pride in those unique value propositions that would land me an unbelievable opportunity to help grow the patient acquisition strategy for a growing medical technology startup in Southern California. The leadership team valued my youthful energy, my creativity and strategic approach, and my dedication to the patient experience. I didn’t need an Ivy League MBA. I didn’t need 10 years (or even 3 years) of experience, I just needed to be me.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Millennial Clubs + Currency Strategies + Currently Events + Nina Brands – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At the end of my journey with my first healthcare startup, I started supporting new small businesses with their branding and marketing strategy. While I didn’t have 10 years of experience in either, I found a way to help these companies build brand equity, advance customer acquisition strategies, and in some cases, raise capital. I’d brand my company as Currency. The word currency is a fun use of my initials “CY” but was really about helping drive the “worth” of a company. I launched Currency with no true goal other than to help others add value to their organizations. I call my style the “common sense” approach. I focus heavily on digital strategy while keeping the customer experience top of mind. I’d eventually spin out Currently Events (event management and digital photo booth rental) again with a “common sense” approach to driving attendee engagement and driving brand impressions through thoughtful activations and social sharing.
It was during my startup journey in 2015 that I’d eventually meet my business partners for the Dallas Millennial Club, a networking and service organization. Eventually, we would join forces officially in 2016 to create one of the top millennial organizations in Texas. Since then, we’ve hosted 2 massive sold out charity galas and consistently sell out each of our monthly events. We’re known for our engaging Millennial Speaker Series and philanthropic efforts in the STEM fields. We believe being a millennial is more than an age group, it’s a mindset, and I think that’s why we’ve received national recognition and reception. Our team and dedicated members are shifting the sentiment around the millennial generation. We recognize the power of the millennial voice. We consistently use this voice to help open promote new fitness concepts, introduce millennial-owned restaurants, and highlight deserving stories in Dallas and have a little bit of fun along the way.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Millennial Clubs will expand to New York City this fall and several other large markets by next year. We are continuing to expand our efforts to support STEM education both on a local and national scale.
Currency and Currently are both active businesses here in Dallas. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of help managing them while I focused on my full time medical tech work and Millennial Clubs. I’m looking to take them several smaller markets this year.
I’m most excited about an upcoming passion project of mine that will be launching soon. Nina is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) themed apparel company dedicated to helping young girls look cool and feel smart. I’m dedicated to encouraging girls to take an interest in the fields of STEM early on. Young students can either feel inspired and empowered or insecure and doubtful of their abilities. No data exists to confirm that women are less skilled or able to thrive in STEM industries and yet we only hold 24% of the available jobs. My goal is to empower your students, your nieces, your daughters, by showing them they aren’t “too girly” to be an engineer, “too nice” to be a surgeon, or “too small” to be a tech mogul. All lovely things I’ve heard in my journey to where I’m at now. My response then was the same as it is now…WATCH ME WORK.
I’ve committed the next year to connecting and creating. Connecting good people to great work. Creating opportunities for those who haven’t yet found a voice.
- Website: www.millennialclubs.com , www.currentlyevents.com
- Phone: 2542586569
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christianayebra/
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianayebra
Stories By Tim, Inc. (individual shots) Jaime Prado (MC Shots)