Christina Langdon, our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, spent 30 years running sales and marketing teams for big name brands like Martha Stewart and Fast Company. But while her career looked perfect on paper, something was missing from all the success—the joy. In 2019, Christina received a cancer diagnosis and knew this was the time to change her narrative, launching Christina Langdon High Performance Coaching + Consulting to help others achieve their ‘extraordinary,’ even when life gets in the way. Now, she’s following her passion for coaching high performers, and mission-driven companies scale sustainably and rediscover their joy. We interviewed this Summit-based mom and stepmom of five adult kids to talk about how her diagnosis made her re-examine her career, the one thing she does to get through a tough day, and the NJ winery her family goes to when they want a mini-escape.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Wendy Moynihan
Please tell us a bit about your family. I live in Summit, NJ, with my husband of 4 years, Ron Potesky. We share five adult children between us: Jack and Teddy, 22-year-old twins, Caroline, 25, and my stepsons Charlie, 27, and Ben, 30.
Tell us a little about your career background and how it played a role in launching your business. I worked for Martha Stewart for almost 20 years, and during that time, the company went through massive changes many times over. I launched more than 20 brands for her and reached executive-level status. But, when I wasn’t working, I could be found at Barnes & Noble in the self-help section because though I looked perfect on paper, I was perfectly miserable inside. I thought the higher up the ladder, the effort would get easier, and I’d feel what you are supposed to feel when you’ve arrived. When I was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in 2019, I took a good, hard look at myself and realized I wanted to be a coach, partner, and collaborator for other high achievers and help them find a balanced, joyful life. I launched my business in 2019 while I was still in treatment.
Has the pandemic affected your business? The pandemic has been good for my business because people are more accepting of getting help now, and the stigma around having a coach has gone away. I’m a firm believer that success is not a solo endeavor. It always comes with the support of others.
Is there a particular cause or charity that’s important to you? It’s very important to me to give back. The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation is one that I’m involved in. It aims to provide early detection and healing and improve the entire experience of health care to underinsured women. There are now two centers in NJ, one in Elizabeth and another in Newark.
How important is it to be confident when running your own business? When people ask me about the importance of confidence in business, I’m reminded of something my doctor (Dr. Park) at Memorial Sloan Kettering told me. He said that I didn’t go there to be treated—I went there to be cured. My life depended on his competence, not his confidence. It’s the same in business and life. Learn one new thing every day, and you will become more competent—eventually, confidence will follow.
How do you reset after a particularly challenging day? I get clarity by writing down all my thoughts about what I’m struggling with. Writing about a tough day allows me to de-stress and open myself up to the possibilities out there. The brain is a fascinating muscle. When you write something down, the brain behaves as if it happened. So by committing pen to paper and writing your thoughts down, you can find clarity about where these thoughts are coming from and why they’re triggering you. This practice is best when done daily to help you get clear about your changing challenges and the available opportunities. It will help open up your mind to all the possibilities in front of you and the power you have over your struggles.
What are some of your favorite local NJ businesses? Boomerang Bites, an Australian bakery in Hoboken, is the best. The bites come beautifully boxed, so they’re ideal for special occasion gift-giving, but they’re so delicious that you’ll want them for yourself, too. Also, I love The Co-Co, a co-working, co-networking, inspiring space in Summit. It gives me a chance to give back and help support other women in business. Again, success is not a solo endeavor.
What are some of your favorite things to do in NJ with your family? We enjoy Alba Vineyard in Milford. It’s so beautiful and uplifting, and when we all go together, we feel like we’re on vacation. They make wine for tasting and buying, great music from NJ musicians, and delicious local food. We also love the Jersey Shore and spend a lot of time in Normandy Beach, which is one of the calmer beaches and feels heaped in tradition. And, we’ll hike anywhere—some favorites are Harriman State Park, Giralda Farms Preserve Trail, and the Natirar Park Trail.
What advice can you share with another NJMOMpreneur looking to take the leap? I love this question—first and foremost, you must surround yourself with awesomeness since you are a product of the people around you. Immerse yourself in a community of like-minded, purpose-driven people who will support and encourage you to get to your next level. Personally, I’ve leaned on the coaching community and mentors to help me achieve the next chapter. And secondly, realize that you don’t have to do everything from soup to nuts. Ask for help, and if you need to invest in support, it’s an investment worth making and can feel empowering.