Christine Ortega, president & CEO, CO-Effect Enterprises
Christine Ortega is a successful business woman with over three decades of experience in advising civic and nonprofit organizations, as well as business and government leaders. She started in the nonprofit world of public television, and then moved into higher education before landing in the aviation sector as a senior international advisor.
Christine’s American Studies degree from the University of Notre Dame deepened her desire to understand individual identity and cultural belonging. It also increased her knowledge of how these have been fragmented, misrepresented, or erased. As a PBS television producer, she created the video magazine series, “Heritage” documenting the rich, Mexican-American people, arts and cultures in Texas. She won national recognition from PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for her contribution to educational and cultural programming. Later, as the Media and Marketing director for the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, Christine dove into the challenges for young people who struggled to complete the journey into higher education.
Her research and experience led to successful collaborations through strategic communication and marketing. This deep cultural competence, and marketing knowledge was needed at Southwest Airlines. She applied a relationship-building strategy between the community and the airline garnering a competitive advantage that lasted for decades. Over the years, she influenced, guided and directly distributed more than $20 million toward efforts with meaningful community outcomes. As the airline grew internationally, Ortega assumed the role of senior advisor generating acceptance and cooperation with international dignitaries, civic and business leaders in the Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Now as the CEO of CO Effect Enterprises, Christine conveys valuable advice to business, civic and government leaders to bring about successful collaborations for more diverse, equitable and sustainable outcomes. Christine’s creative talents and business acumen prove that doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive. Rather, these dynamics act synergistically through relationship-building for sustainable healthy communities.
She leads her own sustainability and values consulting company plus the family real estate enterprise. Both of these have an eye toward People and Places harmonizing the complex relationships that follow.
Christine’s world vision is ever mindful of the “power of presence.” Her personal philanthropy spans local and national efforts affirming the identity and belonging of people who have been unnoticed, disregarded, or displaced. With a heartfelt balance, she donates to works empowering wellness, identity and belonging.
Christine served on the Smithsonian Institution Latino Center working toward the opening of the Molina Gallery and the first exhibit of the National Museum for the American Latino. She serves as vice president of the Texas Indigenous Food Project. She currently serves as board secretary for the National Council of Nonprofits.
As “Texana” she claims her heritage from the aboriginal presence of the Coahuiltecan People; and the Chichimeca tribe; the Mexican community who all encountered the Spanish and European travelers in the Texas region.