What would you do to meet Sting?
Oak Cliff resident Christine Horstman has led a pretty colorful life for a computer geek and librarian.
“My sister and I met Sting once which was awesome. I entered each of us in a contest at Sound Warehouse - that’s how old I am, LOL - and she won! We flew to Madrid to go to his concert and had a meet and greet.”
The bubbly blonde admits, “People usually laugh when they hear I was both a computer programmer and a reference librarian. I am very talkative and a people person so that tends to surprise them. While short-lived, I got a lot out of each experience.”
She met her husband of 22 years, Doug, when they both grew up in Lake Highlands. “We’ve known each other since I was 16. He, my sister, and her husband have been best friends since high school.” Doug works for Targetbase, a marketing agency, in Irving.
Although her life sounds charmed, she had a big scare 16 years ago.
Deal with It, Doll!
“I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when my son was 18 months old. It was rough and it took a lot of support from my family and friends, especially my sister who helped care for my son.”
Since then, her health has been up and down. “I live with multiple chronic illnesses so there’s been a lot of challenging times.”
This led her to her current status – published author. She just finished writing a book called, Deal with It, Doll!: Coaching Yourself through Crisis. “Writing and journaling help me cope in general and I hope the lessons I’ve learned working as a coach and living with chronic illness will help others get through their toughest time.”
Life and Work
Born in Connecticut, her family moved to Freehold, New Jersey - where Bruce Springsteen is from - when she was seven, then moved to Dallas when she was 12. “I went to Ursuline and Lake Highlands. I was on the drill team at UA and played volleyball at both UA and LHHS.”
Christine graduated from Boston College with a major in Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies, where she was active in the Residence Hall Association and was a member of the Golden Eagle’s dance team. Her favorite part of college was studying abroad in Barcelona.
Her family-owned Papyrus, a stationary store, in NorthPark Mall for many years, so when she first came home from college, she went into the family business and helped her mom and sister at the shop.
Her first “real” job was as a Programmer Analyst for the City of Dallas. ”The economy was terrible and there were hiring freezes at all levels of government. I wanted to work in municipal government and had previously interned for the Department of Economic Development. I was hoping to get my foot in the door at the City. I had to reprogram the payroll system which was terrifying.”
Eventually she moved on to creating her own company, Paper Doll Communication.
“I started first as a small business consultant. I still do a lot of corporate trainings and work as a professional development instructor, but most of my private clients are one-on-one coaching clients. I realized using my managerial background helping individuals with their career and personal development was a better fit for my own work/life balance, and I find it more rewarding.”
The best thing about working in her business? “Hands down it’s helping others and seeing their confidence grow. Because I focus on communication, emotional intelligence, and soft skills, I am constantly learning and growing, too.” She is a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Career Coach, and an Accredited DISC Trainer, a theory that helps better understand human behavior.
Some folks might recognize her from the successful professional development series she created - she was a frequent presenter for the Dallas Public Library's "Ask a Career Coach Series.
When Christine isn’t working to help people grow their soft skills and business, she enjoys volunteering. She’s serves on the Advancement Committee and as the president for the newly formed Parents’ Association for Bishop Dunne High School where her son is a junior. Last year she was on the Circle of Friends board for New Friends, New Life, a nonprofit with a mission to help formerly trafficked women and girls rebuild their lives. She’s still an active supporter of the agency.
And she started the Oak Cliff chapter of Young Men’s Service League to instill the importance of service in her son, “And to have an activity we could do together. It’s been such a fun thing to do with other mothers and sons. I have met and reconnected with a lot of great women in starting the chapter. It’s been bright spot during the pandemic.” She’s also on the Arthritis Foundation of North Texas’ Jingle Bell Run committee.
And when she’s not working or volunteering, she admits to running around the neighborhood out of necessity: “We have a Labrador Houdini. Our yellow lab/golden retriever mix, Woodrow, is an escape artist. When our house was under construction, we were living in a hotel, and he got us kicked out.” Woodrow keeps her paying attention to her surroundings – making sure he’s where he should be, safe at home.
Overcoming the Pandemic
Her book, she says, is a timely resource to help people grow through change and deal with life’s many curveballs with resilience, confidence, and hope.
“We could not have imagined with our clever ‘2020 vision’ slogans at the start of the new year that we would get a collective punch to the gut come spring.” She says, “You may be going along swimmingly in life and out of nowhere face your own crisis. You may have already had more challenges than seem fair for one person to endure. Whether you are still trying to process the pandemic or dealing with a crisis of your own creation, Deal with It, Doll! will leave you feeling less alone and so much stronger.”
Our collective health crisis inspired her book, but it’s written for the typical curveballs of life.
“It was written for the stuff many of us face personally and professionally in any given year. The changes most of us will deal with in our lifetimes: parenting, careers, finances. Handling failures and fractures and managing our relationships. Health problems. All of it.”
Christine says that through each new phase in life, we have the opportunity to grow through change. “When the literal and figurative masks come off, who are you, Doll? Who do you want to be and how are you going to make the most of your life, especially when things aren’t going your way? Your struggles, your shifts, your changes, and your challenges are creating the next version of your life in ways that may not yet make sense. Do not despair. Life is ever changing and full of twists and turns. Stop stressing and start dealing with it.”
The Way Forward
She says, “As a life and career coach most of my skills feed what I do.”
She also tries new things, to keep learning. Last year she had a poem published, “The Long Haul,” which helped her process her experience with COVID. It was included in the Writer’s Garret 2021 anthology.
And she’s recently started painting. “I hadn’t taken an art class since my required elective freshman year in high school. Turns out I’m not awful.”
Positive self-talk, from the Life Coach herself!
Want to learn more? Meet Christine at her book signing coming up IN:
Wind Down Wednesday | Whose Books, Neighborhood Bookstore (square.site)
Paper Doll Communication
Certified Career Coach
Certified Professional Coach
Judy Porter, MBA, writes stories about local heroes and nonprofits in the DFW community. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org