Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Donor Spotlight: Christine Houston '86

Christine Houston earned a B.A. from Hofstra in economics. She was a commuting student, and, like many students, she juggled part-time jobs to help pay for her education. Though her time on campus was limited due to her busy schedule, she remembers, “I had several great professors, especially those in economics and the international business classes — in fact, I took my first Chinese language classes at Hofstra.”

Today, Ms. Houston is the founder and managing director of ESGI, a fully retained executive search firm specializing in senior-level appointments in Asia for a select group of multinational clients. The firm serves a range of diverse industry sectors, with its main areas of expertise in financial services, technology and real estate. In 2005, under Ms. Houston’s leadership, ESGI was ranked by Asia Money as one of the Top 10 Best Headhunting Firms in Asia.

Ms. Houston entered the executive search profession in 1986 when she joined Korn/Ferry International. She was a partner in the New York office for five years, during which she led and managed crossborder
searches with Asia. In 1990 she joined the New York office of TASA (now known as TMP Search), and in 1994 she became the managing partner of the Hong Kong office. During her tenure with TASA in Hong Kong, she headed the Financial Services and Technology Practices in Asia, including Japan.

Ms. Houston is a generous contributor to The Fund for Hofstra University. She says she has stayed involved with University “because the education I received at Hofstra has been integral to my success.”

She is also a member of Hofstra’s Women in Leadership program, which highlights the accomplishments of successful Hofstra alumnae and is becoming a professional resource and network for alumnae and current students. Ms. Houston advises students and recent graduates to be on the lookout for professional opportunities and challenges that will move their careers along, perhaps in directions unanticipated. “Always keep your eye on your goal, and don’t get distracted or discouraged by the ‘tasks’ right in front of you,” she says.

“What always has worked well for me is to take the opportunity that provides the greatest ‘stretch.’ For example, when I graduated I had two job offers ... one in Garden City and one in New York City. The former actually paid more, and I would have not had major commuting expenses. But I chose to take the New York City job, since I felt that if I took the local job I would become too complacent. And so from New York I went to Tokyo, back to New York and then to Hong Kong, where I have been for 17 years.”


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