Near the end of her senior year in college, Christine Alabastro faced a choice: Either take a business management job that didn’t feed her creative passions or face the unknown after graduation. Anxious about her future, she shared her concerns with her mother, Cynthia, during a sushi dinner at a restaurant near their home in Orange County.
Her mom, always a gentle guide, offered this advice: “You are in control of designing your own future.”
Alabastro turned down the job, choosing instead to continue her education, setting her on a path that led to her current position working in executive communications at TikTok.
Raised by parents who immigrated from the Philippines, Alabastro practiced tennis, piano, ballet and violin from an early age; dance stuck throughout her undergraduate years at the University of California, San Diego.
In addition to majoring in communication, Alabastro took acting classes to challenge her natural introversion. “I really believe in putting myself in situations where I’m not comfortable,” she said. “That’s where you grow.”
In 2014, Alabastro joined the strategic public relations master’s program because she wanted a more hands-on “practical” approach to strategic business communications.
“For me, it was their focus on strategy,” she said. “It’s so valuable to learn this skill in a classroom setting because it’s a safe environment to question and not know things.”
During her first year at USC Annenberg, Alabastro sought out mentorship opportunities through the career center. She was introduced to Marisa Borjon, who was then working at Golin, a top global public relations firm. Borjon, who received a master’s degree in strategic public relations in 2010, hired Alabastro as a consumer and brand intern. Later, Alabastro leveraged the Annenberg Career Connection to secure another internship, this time with Edelman. That gig led to a full-time corporate communications job at the company while she was still in school — a position she kept after her 2016 graduation.
“It goes back to my mom’s philosophy about making opportunities for yourself,” Alabastro said. “While Annenberg provided many networking events, I took it upon myself to proactively nurture those connections.”
In 2017, Hulu recruited Alabastro to their corporate communication team. “Going in-house to Hulu, I was thinking beyond the PR work — I was thinking bigger picture about how my role supported the organization’s bottom line.”
One of the highlights of her two-plus years at the streaming service was advancing Hulu’s Executive Women’s Thought Leadership Program, which sought to elevate the voices of female executives in the company. The culmination was an all-female keynote panel on boundary-pushing television that Alabastro programmed for the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.
“Seeing this type of representation in the tech and entertainment industry was pretty incredible,” she said.
Since joining TikTok in 2019, Alabastro continues to find rewards in working with spokespeople to find and sharpen their authentic voice. Her years of both practicing and teaching yoga — which started when she was an undergraduate — have influenced her approach to public speaking.
“Not only did teaching yoga provide me with a physical and mental outlet, it also taught me lessons in public speaking and communication that have carried through to my professional life,” she said.
With a desire to pay forward all that has been invested in her, Alabastro has found many opportunities to give back. She serves on the USC Center for Public Relations’ Board of Advisors, mentors an undergraduate public relations student, and volunteers at Step Up, an organization designed to empower young women in under-resourced communities. “This is the kind of impact I want to leave,” she said.