Life at Fionta

Breaking barriers, building futures: Christine Priester’s inspiring journey

My name is Christine Priester, and I want to tell you about my journey, a story of resilience, determination, and transformation. As a queer woman who survived trafficking, my life has been anything but easy. In 2019, I found myself homeless with two children, struggling to find stability after leaving a tumultuous five-year relationship.

But life has a way of presenting opportunities amidst adversity. I found myself stepping into the tech industry, initially as an executive assistant at a firm specializing in Salesforce implementation for nonprofits. This role was my gateway into a world I never imagined I would be a part of – the world of technology.

I was immediately captivated by the potential and versatility of technology. Before I knew it, my role evolved – from an executive assistant to an Engagement Consultant and System Administrator. The transition into the Salesforce ecosystem wasn’t just about financial security; it was about finding a community, my ohana, where I finally felt like I belonged.

But this journey was about more than just my growth. I felt a strong pull to give back, to lift others as I had been lifted. Volunteering for organizations like PepUp Tech, I found my calling in empowering underrepresented women in tech. By sharing my story, struggles, and vulnerabilities, I realized I could be a beacon of hope for others.

My experiences highlighted a glaring need for more support for women and nonbinary individuals, especially those from marginalized communities. Co-founding GEMs in Tech was a response to this need. We focus on providing assistance, mentorship, career coaching, and resources for those transitioning into tech. My journey, marked by overcoming abuse and poverty, became the blueprint for the support we offer.

Today, I continue my work with GEMs in Tech, pushing to broaden our impact. As a Senior Consultant at Fíonta, I help social impact organizations maximize their missions. My personal experiences as a client of such organizations fuel my drive to make a difference.

My story is more than a personal narrative; it’s a testament to the transformative power of perseverance, community, and believing in one’s ability to effect change. Every day, as I continue my work, I am committed to breaking down barriers and creating pathways for everyone to succeed in the tech industry. This is not just my journey; it’s a shared journey of hope, empowerment, and endless possibilities.