Jaylen Christie wrote down becoming an honoree of Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award on his list of goals for 2020.
The Florida A&M graduate had no idea he’d be crossing off the prestige accolade this fall.
“Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40 was on like my dream list,” Christie said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen but I was like ‘Oh, you know it’d be nice if it did happen.’”
OBJ’s 40 Under 40 award recognizes young leaders for their high business achievements and community involvement. This is an award that requires nomination by someone who notices your distinction and can provide a generous list of your achievements and civic participation.
And quite the list Christie has.
The Tallahassee native had always shown his distinguished professionalism as he is on several different boards in Orlando: Orlando’s chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the United Negro College Fund and the Orange County Library Systems. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and just last year Christie was hand picked by the mayor to be on the Martin Luther King initiative that is being put together for Orlando’s diversity inclusion programs.
Christie currently works at Moxe, an advertising and public relations agency in Orlando. His coworker, Jennifer Griffin, nominated him for the award.
“The nomination came easy,” Griffin, office manager at Moxe, said. “Jaylen is a hard working and creative individual that goes above and beyond with his dedication to not only his career, but to life in general. Balancing a career, going to school and having a personal life, he makes it look easy. He is kind to every soul that he encounters, builds relationships in and outside of his profession and strives to conquer his dreams. He is truly an inspiration to all around him.”
Christie, the youngest PR director in the company’s history, said it was an honor being selected for this award.
“I’m honored to have received this accolade from the Orlando Business Journal,” he said. “It means a lot. In this trying year that 2020 is, winning that award has been a bright spot for me.”
Once he found out he had won, he instantly called his mother with the news who, according to Christie, claimed she already knew he won because of the admirable work ethic that he has always shown.
“My husband, Jessie, and I are extremely proud of Jay. He is worthy of being recognized as one of the influential leaders in business and community service,” she said. “I admire Jay’s drive. He has always been aggressive in his learning and giving back to his community. It started during his childhood.”
Graduating from Florida A&M with a bachelor’s in journalism in 2009, Christie already had a substantial work portfolio as he served as the sports editor, the lifestyles editor, and then the managing editor for The Famuan. Showing up to interviews with such an impressive portfolio is what landed his first job.
That job led to his next job at the Salvation Army of Orlando as the PR coordinator, which led to his next job at a marketing agency where he worked as the PR manager, which led him to his current job at Moxe.
When asked, Christie says what keeps him motivated to be such an exceptional young professional is his hope for seeing more diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“I’m a firm believer in diversity and inclusion and I think that is a term that we are hearing a lot more about during this period of civil unrest and I’ve been trying to use my communication skills to have a positive impact on the community and to make a difference wherever I work,” he said. “I try to combine my job with the organizations that I am a part of so I can implement positive change. I think that’s been one of the things that has motivated me.”
“God is good,” he added. “Every job that I’ve had, I’ve been blessed with a boss that has allowed me to be free and blend both my job with the organizations that I’m a part of. So I’ve been able to receive increased flexibility to kind of balance what’s on my plate. Those kinds of things keep me motivated.”
For those who are starting to navigate their professional lives post graduation, Christie’s advice is to stay the course.
“If you’re passionate about something, continue to work at it,” he said. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you no. There’s always going to be challenges. There’s always going to be obstacles. There will always be haters. But I would say stay the course. Stay focused. I know that sounds cliche but it’s something that I’ve tried to hold on to as I’ve been navigating through my career. I think by staying the course things will pay off in the long run.”
Christie, 33, was among 200 nominations from Orlando. Only 40 made the list. The honorees will be celebrated during a Nov. 12 virtual awards celebration, and you can read full coverage in the Nov. 13, 2020, weekly edition of OBJ.