Get to know one of our incredible employees from around the world.
Christina Song, Project Coordinator
Lives in: Austin, Texas
Joined HomeAway: January 2010
On an average day at HomeAway you will see the very stylish, yet demure Christina Song greeting visitors at the front desk in our Headquarters office. Not only does Christina perform administrative duties and hundreds of other tasks, she also manages our Alternative Transportation program, co-manages the Employee Discounts program, plans events, fields employee questions and requests, along with a variety of ad-hoc projects. We can see that her hands are full at HomeAway, but were curious as to what she does to keep busy outside of the workplace.
We hear you are working on your PhD degree in clinical psychology, what area are you researching?
I was accepted to a few programs after undergrad – I’m interested in cognitive behavioral therapy and researching causal and mediating variables in depressive etiology. I deferred for a few years due to financial and personal reasons, but I’m excited to go back to school someday. I also used to teach psychology to gifted high school students at Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, which was fantastic. Somewhere down the line I would love to be a therapist in practice while teaching psychology at the high school level.
How did you get into teaching that program? Sounds like an amazing experience.
I attended Duke TIP as a high school student and thought that their summer program was an incredible way for students to gain exposure in subjects that aren’t generally a part of regular public school curricula (for example Nanotechnology, Viking Literature, and Cryptology were three of the most popular courses during my last year of there). Once I had a few years of psychology coursework and research experience under my belt, they were nice enough to have me back as a Teaching Assistant. I generally spent my summers at Duke in between semesters at the University of Texas.
So we hear you are the front man in a band…tell us that awesome story!
I sing in a local punk band – I can’t really say it’s my band because I inherited the role after my best friend/band founder moved to Los Angeles this year. SXSW was my trial by fire. I had been in the band for one week and had never sung in my life. It’s been a completely novel experience so far. Touring is an amazing way to see the country, though the accommodations can really run the gamut. When we toured the West coast this summer, I often didn’t know if I was going to be sleeping on the floor with ten other people or in a private bedroom to myself. Once I even had to sleep in a bathtub! It’s about as comfortable as it sounds (unless you’re sleeping in one of these).
What made you so passionate about the Alternative Transportation at HomeAway project?
One of the things that I find so exciting about working at HomeAway is our commitment to green practices. In our Austin offices, the tenets of our Green Mission Statement often dovetail with the needs of our ever-growing employee base. One of my first projects at HomeAway was to organize an alternative transportation program for employees. Since then, I’ve negotiated discounts with vendors of local alternative transportation, organized an annual Alternative Transportation Fair, helped HomeAway win an award for our commitment to providing a bicycle friendly workplace, and set up a helpful online resource for employees thinking about making the switch. I was even invited by the Downtown Austin Alliance to speak about our green business practices in front of Austin government and business leaders along with City Council member Chris Riley. It was the only time I’ve presented in front of 100+ people who weren’t predominantly dressed in Abercrombie & Fitch– I was proud to represent HomeAway and give our fellow Austinites a taste of our unique and progressive company culture.
You're obviously a really creative designer that takes our birthday-cupcake emails to the next level.
As a Project Coordinator, I regularly have to generate emails, intranet webpages, and signage containing information that hundreds of employees should be aware of. Given the amount of email that gets sent around here, that doesn’t always happen! Over time I’ve found that communications that contain helpful or interesting visuals are a much more effective means of communication than a bunch of text. That’s the bottom line for me. Whether it’s something fun (like the birthday emails or happy hour invitations) or informative (like this recycling guide), I try to create something that I would be more likely to pay attention to as a consumer.
Check out some of Christina's creative projects on tumblr.
Some of Christina's other interests include – reading, traveling, cooking, record collecting, margaritas with friends, trying every Korean, Mexican, Japanese restaurant in Austin.
** UPDATE: Christina has since joined the Public Relations Team as a PR Specialist **