In our Q&A series, we talk with webinar presenters about their current roles, work-life balance and any helpful tips they may have for alumni.

Tell us what you've been up to since your time at HBS.

I graduated in 1986, so there's a lot of life to summarize, but I'll try! I joined McKinsey in San Francisco after graduation, and stayed there for 24 years, retiring as a senior partner in 2010. Along the way I had my son, Tim, who is about to graduate from HBS himself. After McKinsey, I joined Nike in Portland, Oregon, and had the joy of running global retail there. Now I’m retired from Nike and enjoying board service on a mix of consumer-related boards.

Can you describe your experience joining your first board?

I didn't know it at the time, but the way I joined my first board was very typical, which was a referral through a friend and former colleague.  The process was pretty quick - interviews with Nomination committee members by phone, then in-person interviews with the CEO and chairman.  I didn't know what to expect, so I did tons of reading and research on the company, which helped me engage in good discussions. In my first year on that board, we made a CEO change, and did a pretty significant board refreshment, so it was a very steep learning curve, but a great experience.

What is a common misconception you hear about board service?

One common misconception about board service is that it doesn't take a lot of time.  The reality is that the expectations for boards have steadily increased in recent years, so it's a significant time commitment, and one you should make very thoughtfully.

What is the life in your work/life balance?

I love the way that question is phrased!  My life is really full, and such a joy - I feel grateful every day.  I worked in two intense careers prior to retiring, and like all of us, felt like I was juggling, trading-off, and trying to balance the impossible all the time. The gift now is that I'm able to do work that keeps me relevant through board service and philanthropy, but still have the time and flexibility to make all the key family events, travel when and where I want, and smell a few roses along the way. I highly recommend it!

To learn more about Christiana's insights into serving on a corporate board, view her presentation, Corporate Board Service: The What, Why & How.