Christina Wallace

Christina Wallace

Entrepreneur, Podcaster, HBS Professor, Author

Christina Wallace is a former entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience building companies, and and currently a professor of entrepreneurship and marketing at Harvard Business School.
She is writing a book about the Portfolio Life. It’s a concept that acknowledges that we all have multiple interests, and that given how business has evolved, the idea of a linear career no longer applies. In this world, we look at our life as a portfolio of experiences, that may or may not build on each other. And in a world with increasing speed, uncertainty and complexity, in the long run managing our career as a portfolio makes us happier and more effective.
In this episode, we also discuss Christina’s experiences as an entrepreneur, the cost of failure and how to manage risk and create opportunities for second chances.


[02:34] – Christina shares her story with us.
[03:47] – One of Christina’s pressures is focusing on being just one thing.
[05:16] – Christina landed on a phrase that helped with introducing herself.
[08:22] – Giving the skill, that ability to see connections between currently unconnected ideas or unconnected, a name legitimized it and gave value to Christina.
[10:28] – Christina feared that the business world would look at her background, think less of her, or not take her seriously.
[13:04] – If you can’t answer any of the “Why” questions, and if any of those answers are inauthentic, no one is getting on board.
[15:51] – Christina and her team got to have an honest conversation about what failure means and had the opportunity to teach it to the students at HBS.
[17:13] – It is only a question of, when, not if, that failure will be part of your story.
[20:47] – When taking advice from anyone, you have to filter for how much of it is relevant to your circumstances.
[23:53] – There are all of these different models that someone could use to prove themself and to gain some traction without the shoot for the moon approach.
[26:35] – Christina realized she needed to practice being bad at things if she wanted to be able to keep going down the path as an entrepreneur.
[28:20] – Control over her time became one of Christina’s primary metrics of success.
[30:46] – It is hard to walk the path that has been prescribed, but sometimes you have to make the best decision for yourself.
[33:06] – Christina shares some classroom advice: as you progress in your career, as you hit through these stages of success, you will always have two choices.
[35:17] – Be thoughtful about the operational model, or the business model, for the life that you set up.
[37:41] – The portfolio life is giving everyone a term to legitimize something that many of us are already doing.
[39:17] – A portfolio life is predicated on three ideas that Christina shares with us.
[42:42] – Someone who has other things that they do outside of the job means they’re more likely to be a highly motivated, engaged employee on the job.
[44:57] – I ask Christina if she has a hobby or passion that she does outside of work that has helped influence her work.
[46:58] – Which business cliches, processes, or jargon drives Christina crazy?
[48:51] – Food for the body or food for the soul.
[50:45] – Thank you and closing remarks.

Christina Wallace Links:

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Contact at:


Instagram: @cmwalla

Twitter: @cmwalla

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