One of the main gals at The Branch is Office Manager, Christine Horstman. A Political Science graduate of Boston College, Christine loves to study organizations and improve communication within those organizations. She joined the team in Spring 2014 to help support Debby and the continued growth of The Branch. Her experience with other small businesses and as a General Manager for private firms has provided her with the diversified business skill set. Her creative and amazing writing skills from her blogger days have helped our own blog get off the ground running. She is an advocate for learning differences and chronic illness, and has been a frequent contributor to The Dallas Morning News’ Community Voices program!
Favorite memory from college?
Studying abroad in Barcelona. I felt so independent and I realized my Spanish was much better than I thought. (Wish I could say that was still the case!) I met the nicest people, had the opportunity to travel all around Spain and Western Europe and was surrounded by amazing design. The architecture in Barcelona is out of this world. Gaudi, Miro, Picasso – they forever changed my appreciation for art and my personal aesthetic.
Favorite part of The Branch?
Hands down it’s Miss Tooty Tootwell herself. I love being the other half of Toots & Poots. Debby is one of my dearest friends and we have really good chemistry in general but it keeps getting better and better in terms of our ability to work well together. She energizes and inspires me. I just love working for and with a creative person. And I love her commitment toward self-improvement.
Team Max or Team Hilde?
I am going to have to go rogue and say Team Woodrow. 🙂 He can be a pill but he LOVES coming to work. As you well know he cannot bear to be left out of a meeting. I love Hilde and Max equally. I’m the HR manager too, after all, so no favoritism!
Favorite memory at The Branch?
I think it has to be working late making paper flowers. Katy and Debby and I had so much fun and we recruited a bunch of our girlfriends to help us. We rocked out to loud dance party music and made the magic happen! The old studio used to get transformed into the Momfia Lounge after hours with our friends. We have a tight knight group from Oak Cliff that became friends when our kids were all babies. It was kind of our club house for an easy getaway from the husbands and kids, so it was more special to me from an outsider perspective as Deb’s friend. That was fun. But the new studio is such source of pride. It’s a concrete symbol of how much we have grown, improved and matured as a company in a short time.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to write, but don’t do it frequently enough. One day I will finish the novel I started. I have always been really active volunteering at Patrick’s school. I spend a lot of time doing my small part to advocate for dyslexia and other learning difference and chronic illness as the first impacts my son and the other helps me cope with all my autoimmune issues, and research shows there is a very likely a genetic link between the two.
I love getting together with my friends and just having time to talk and laugh and drink wine. And I love snuggling with my pups when I need downtime to rest. Oh, and I love to decorate and entertain. I love rearranging furniture and restyling the house on a regular basis. It makes my family crazy but I cannot help myself!
Any other info you want us to know about you?
January is the month my son – “ my one and only” – was born, so I am probably extra reflective at the start of the new year. 12 years ago my life was literally transformed at the start of the new year. I am trying to cultivate more things to do with him now that he’s a tween and his needs are changing. That means carving out time to be available and finding some common interests.
I’m trying really hard to reduce the clutter in my life so it’s easier to keep up with the demands of work and home especially when I don’t feel well. Being able to split my time working from home and at the studio is a huge help for me and I am so grateful for that flexibility, but I realized I have to up my organization and systems to make it easier to move back and forth between the two. That’s my big 2016 resolution – being committed to decluttering (finishing what I started in 2015 on that front) and being disciplined about routines. Evernote and Basecamp are transforming my life as I am a paper and information junky. So far, the year is off to a great start and I am excited to see what else it has in store personally and professionally.