Christina Dyrness Williams 20 February 2008
Story teller, connector, wordsmith, mama
Christina’s life began in Corvallis, but she was whisked up to Fairbanks, Alaska, before she turned five and spent her formative years there – summers camping and hiking and winters trudging through the snow to school. She flew south after graduating high school and went to study literature and journalism in California.
After spending time as first a Banana Slug and then a Bear (with some time spent working in between) she began the itinerant life of a journalist with gigs in South Florida, Washington D.C. and Raleigh N.C. before finally landing in Portland.
Christina recently jumped to the “dark side” of public relations after more than a decade as a reporter. Prior to this new career, she was managing editor at Oregon Business magazine and before that a technology reporter at The News & Observer in North Carolina. She wrote about Linux before most people knew what it was but, sadly, she’s still a bit of a luddite. At Oregon Business, she was known as the cheese editor because she always tried to finagle her cheese obsession into story angles.
There was also a previous life in human resources at a company based in a tall building that afforded her an office with a view of the San Francisco skyline and both bridges. But she gave that up for grad school and hasn’t looked back.
She’s married and lives in Southeast Portland (four blocks from the Bagdad) with a sweet, sweet dog and a sweet, sweet son who toddles and never ceases to amaze.
What are you up to?
So I just joined a company called Page One PR. (You met Jennifer Cloer earlier) We tell the stories of our clients, mostly startup technology companies. We’re based in Silicon Valley but we’re really keen on having more of a Portland presence. We’re pursuing high-tech and clean-tech clients here. I work with ridiculously smart people all over the world. Considering the fact that I spent the last 10 years making fun of (bad) PR people, I’m pretty amazed at how much fun I’m having.
What are you into?
I’m pretty into my job right now but that’s because I just switched it up and I love it so it’s kind of consuming. I’m into the social side of social media, I love meeting new people and making connections and helping other people make the connections that they need to make. I’m into tracking the new inventions and innovations that will help mitigate human impact on our environment. I’m really into my family and watching my son, Judson, grow up. He’s hilarious. He’s going to be a really fun person to have around. I’m really into exploring every corner of Oregon with my wonderful husband, son and dog in tow.
What do you like most about Portland?
Portland was the first place I moved as an adult because I wanted to live here. I still remember laying awake whispering with my husband about Portland, about how we could just do it, just move there and see what happens. We were so excited.
Even given the anticipation, I love Portland with a passion that surprises me. I love the beauty, the people, the local food and wine, the vibe the transit. I love that spring starts in February and last, oh, until about July 5. I love the lush, frenetic summers. I even love the inward focus that the dark, wet winters bring.
I love walking with my dog in the slick wet mornings to get a rocking cup of coffee.
And my mouth waters just thinking of all the berries I’m going to eat this summer.
How do you feel about ending your journalism career?
I feel liberated, actually. There were a lot of things I loved about being a reporter. But the thing I didn’t like was being the perpetual observer. Now I feel like I can get involved with abandon. I was a business journalist for just about all of my career, and now I love working with passionate entrepreneurs rather than just writing about them.
Do you consider yourself shy?
I don’t, but I could understand why one might think that. I Twitter behind my dog and I blog behind my son. The personal and professional are merging more and more in the online world and it’s taken me a while to get comfy with that (part of that is my old-fashioned journalism sensibilities.) But I also think I’m satisfied being behind the scenes. I’m perfectly happy writing kick-ass copy for a client and never having anyone know it was me.