Christina Byrd
Home Region

Memphis, Tennessee

Undergrad Education

University of California, 2014

Previous Experience

Uber, Compensia

HBS Activities

PRIDE Club, Rugby Club

“I became the go-to equal pay person.”

When Christina Byrd applied to college, she shattered the expectations of her hometown community. “My parents had encouraged me to get into the best and most challenging school I could,” Christina explains. “I took them up on their bet. I went from a conservative, Christian school of about one hundred students per class to its polar opposite: UC Berkeley. I was expected to go to a religiously affiliated school or to stay in the South – I left both.”

Christina became a political economy major. “I thought I wanted to be in politics, but I realized that wasn’t my calling. I was discouraged by the amount of time it took to get things done.”

As she approached graduation, “several companies recruited for executive compensation consultants among the poly-econ majors,” Christina says. She accepted an offer from Compensia. “It was a fantastic place to receive mentorship, especially as a young female in the workplace – there were women at every level of the organization.”

In her subsequent work at Uber, Christina shifted from executive to broad-based compensation. “Given the press backlash at the time and large cultural shifts, my job morphed into a rapid compensation change model. I’m most proud of working on Uber’s inaugural fair pay/equal pay analyses – we made sure we were paying men and women, black and white, the same pay for the same performance. I became the go-to equal pay person.”

Expanding her “language” skills

“While working on cross-functional and strategic initiatives at Uber,” says Christina, “I realized how important it was to speak the language of any role in the organization, and to communicate the value of HR to people who don’t necessarily understand it.” She decided to pursue an MBA because, “I need to meet people where they are – understanding people’s worlds is the most important thing I need to do.”

HBS attracted Christina by virtue of its diversity. “There’s an emphasis on recruiting students from different countries, different industries – the greatest range of global experiences and opinions,” she says.

“Anyone would say their business school is supportive,” notes Christina. “But I can’t imagine it’s stronger anywhere else. The section experience, the PRIDE Club – people here want to do their best by each other. I love the community MyTakes talks – you realize how real people are, true to their core. I love listening, and I loved giving mine last October. It was part of National Coming Out Day, and I got to give my section mates a glimpse of what makes me, me.”

This summer, Christina will take on an HR position with Nike in Oregon. “It seems like an absolutely fabulous place to continue my career. I want to work in a place that emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion.”