Born in the 1960, Christina Norman grew up in the Bronx, NY, earning her degree in Film from Boston University. Like most recent graduates, Mrs. Norman took the first job she was offered in the education sector. “As a kid (I didn’t see) African American women necessarily at the head of television companies so I thought (I should do) the traditional thing maybe a lawyer…or a teacher were in my mind.” Christina received her first break in production at an advertising company working as a specialist of the “tabletop shot”, which is static positioning of a product for advertising commercial. It was not a glamorous job at all, considered one of the least creative parts of an ad.
Christina Norman started her career at MTV as a freelance production coordinator that turned into a position as a production manager in 1991, overseeing MTV's in-house promotional spots. Always up for a challenge, Norman volunteered to work on a new MTV show Beavis and Butthead despite being clueless about animation. The show became a pop cultural phenomenon. Christina worked on other highly successful creative campaigns and promotional features for MTV shows like The Osbournes and the 10 Spot. In the late 90s, she was appointed senior vice president for marketing, advertising, and on-air promotion at MTV. In 2002, continuing her successful climb up the career ladder, executives at media conglomerate Viacom, owner of MTV, tapped her to become vice president and general manager of MTV sister network VH1. Norman launched series like Bands Reunited, I Love the '80s and Best Week Ever.
Through Christina Norman’s leadership, ratings for VH1's key demographic rose from just under 250,000 to nearly 340,000. She was appointed VH1 president in January 2004. A year later, she became president of MTV. Norman was recognized in Ebony magazine’s "Top 10 African-Americans in Television" and the Hollywood Reporter's "Top 100 Women in Entertainment.
Christina explained her edge working in a male dominated industry, “being female allows me a different perspective than men have and I secretly celebrate that. I think that there is a certain fearlessness and self assurance that women bring to their position that is an advantage in the market place.”
After serving Viacom for 17 years, Christina Norman left MTV to join Oprah Winfrey’s new network OWN as their CEO. "This is the job I've been working toward my entire career," Norman said.
“The best piece of advice that I would give to any young woman or man would be to pursue your dreams, educate yourself, be well informed, strive, don’t ever turn down an opportunity. There’s something in every opportunity that you have. It may not seem like it at the time but this is all different steps on a road that’s gonna you to achieving your goals” ~ Christina Norman