Christina is a life-long Chautauqua County resident and from a working class family. Early on, she learned to reject complacency by creating her own opportunities. Christina attributes her extraordinary work ethic to working in the local hospitality industry. “I started washing dishes when I was 17 and I worked my way up.” she says. “Restaurant work is hard and gritty. The physical and mental labor changes you for the best.”
After graduating from Jamestown High School, Christina earned an AAS degree in Social Sciences from Jamestown Community College, with a concentration in Psychology and Political Science. Christina worked multiple restaurant jobs to support her way through college.
Christina developed a passion for helping those around her through charitable work. During her time at JCC, she organized a group known as the “Social Activism Club”. She was responsible for charity fundraisers and local food bank donations. She also worked as a volunteer with local animal shelters.
Following graduation, she took a new position at a brand-new restaurant in Lakewood, NY. Using her background in psychology, Christina led the restaurant to the highest sales on the East Coast. “There were certain techniques I started using,” she says. “I started incorporating psychological tricks into my sales.”
Noticed by corporate at the highest level, Christina was tasked to develop new training courses and teach fellow workers her innovative methods.“I was just a server. I developed a job for myself that didn’t exist,” she says. “That opportunity launched me into the sales and marketing world. Suddenly, I was responsible for the creation and implementation of an intensive sales-training program. I remember how I felt when it all started. I had never felt more alive."
Ambitious to work in her hometown, Christina began developing her own freelance business. She developed close relationships with many local business owners. “My business is simple,” she says. “Let’s say you own a business, and you're failing to bring in revenue. You hire me. I look at your books, your records, your ordering information -- everything. Maybe you have great record keeping, but you have no advertising. Maybe you’re ordering too much product. That’s where I come in. I figure out the best course-of-action, set-up a sales and marketing plan, and I fix what’s wrong.”
In 2018, Christina began working at a hotel in downtown Jamestown as the Sales and Marketing Manager, while continuing to operate her freelance business. During her free time, she continued to bartend. She says, “Serving will always be a part of me. Once you’re in that world, it never truly leaves you.”
Throughout her professional experience, she has found the only way to make a difference is to be a powerful catalyst for change. “I come from a very humble background. I didn’t go to a fancy ivy-league school, I wasn’t born into extraordinary wealth or privilege." she says. "I have two wonderful parents who love me unconditionally and I worked hard — that’s it. I worked so hard, by the end of the day, I couldn’t stand. I used the knowledge I had, and I strived for more. I strived to create something from nothing.”
Christina Cardinale is a champion for the underdog and a fierce ally for diverse communities. She resides in Jamestown.