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DBT40 Honoree: Christine Rich

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Age: 32
Owner,
Blue Palm, LLC( 
Middletown)

Introduction:   A true testament of grit and grace, Christine Rich grew up on government assistance, with dreams of higher education and one day opening her own business. Through higher education, Christine learned the skills needed to successfully build her internationally awarded Airbrush Tanning Studio and continues to inspire future entrepreneurs in her home state of Delaware.

Why me?  I believe I embody what a DBT 40 winner exemplifies, because I inspire others to invest in education, business, and most importantly themselves. Taking the leap from high school teacher, to start-up entrepreneur was daunting, but the risk was work it. The story is unique and our salon has shaken up the beauty industry, both nationally and internationally.

Coming from a state-assisted and low-income household to owning an elite and internationally recognized salon in my home state is indescribable. I thought my story had ended when I lost my mother during my senior year of high school and while my father was deployed in Iraq, but I made a promise to her that I would excel in business and continue to inspire others. I believe that I have kept that promise to her and that she would be proud.

Professional accomplishments:

  • Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership & Innovation (anticipated fall 2019)
    Achieving my dream of becoming a professor at Wilmington University.
  • Master Certified Airbrush Technician.
  • Internationally recognized as a United States top salon with a five-page highlight spread in a trade magazine.
  • First Delawarean to make and also become captain of the Baltimore Ravens Playmakers.
  • Mrs. Delaware 2013 and Mrs. Delaware United States 2015 (making top 15 at Mrs. United States for the first time in history).

Leadership examples:

  • First and foremost, the process of creating, owning, and managing all operations at Blue Palm, has allowed me to not only be a leader in my salon, but in the industry.
  • Second, I am a former captain of the Baltimore Ravens Playmakers and during our Super Bowl winning season, I was responsible for 12 women during all appearances, sponsorship collaborations, and was in sole communication with Ravens’ front office staff.
  • Third, during my reigns as Mrs. Delaware 2013 and Mrs. Delaware United States 2015, I was asked to make appearances at local community centers and schools.
  • Fourth, the coursework for my doctorate in higher education leadership and innovation involved extensive teamwork and self-reflection as a leader. It allowed me to step into leadership and master the skills of communication, delegation, and juggling multiple deadlines.
  • Finally, during my time as a secondary educator, I received multiple awards for growth of educational programs and organizations related to business and marketing education in K-12.

Community service:  Wilmington University awarded me the Trustees’ Award for Service in 2014 for my service to my community, the state, and the university. I have worked with hundreds of organizations through my reigns as Mrs. Delaware, but also volunteer my time outside of those years. The Governor of Delaware gave me a proclamation in 2015 to recognizing my philanthropic contributions to the state and surrounding communities.

Tell us a few things that aren’t on your LinkedIn profile: My dissertation is on the emotional value of higher education. While media outlets have be focused on the financial value and the cost of a higher education degree, little to no research has been concluded on the emotional value of a higher education degree.  Coming from a household where higher education was not an option, I have a larger emotional value on each of my degrees and they are priceless to me. Without higher education, I would not be the businesswoman I am today, and I cannot wait to share this additional value of higher education with the world.

Another item is that my airbrushes have graced the Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Mrs. Galaxy, Mrs. United States, Miss United States, Miss Teen United States, and Ms. United States stages. I am six states shy of having a client from every state in the United States and I hope to have those six by 2020. After all, some professional goals can be fun professional goals.

Favorite work moment in the past year: The day I opened Blue Palm. I remember thinking, “What if no one comes?” “Was this the right thing?” and then all of a sudden, “Wow, I really did all of this and its fabulous! Now how can I make it better?”

Guilty pleasure? Pokemon Go. Say what you want, but I was a ’90s baby and had an extensive Pokemon card collection, so when I had the opportunity to “catch” Pikachu with my son, I was all for it. It’s now something my son and I enjoy together occasionally.

What’s your hidden talent?  The talent that I am known for is spinning flags, because that was my talent at Miss Delaware, but my hidden talent is that I can wiggle both of my ears!

What’s your next big goal?  My next big goal is to swap “Mrs.” for “Dr.” by finishing and defending my dissertation successfully. I am working towards completion for Spring 2020.

Advice 10 years ago?  Spend more time with your family because you will experience a few losses that you will not be prepared for. Keep taking photos and make sure to tell them every chance you get how much they mean to you. Remember tomorrow is not given.

Family and education: My husband Caleb and I have been married for 10 years! He has a master’s degree in Administration of Justice and is currently a law enforcement officer. We have a Fortnite-obsessed 9 year-old named Talan and five furbabies.  I have a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing management from Goldey-Beacom College, a master’s in education from Wilmington University, and am currently working on my dissertation to complete my doctorate in higher education leadership & innovation from Wilmington University.

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