We were all told to pursue our dreams when we were younger. Of course, some of us became a bit more “realistic” with our dreams as we grew up and dealt with the pressures of bills and adulthood.
In the case of Christian Henderson, his dream of dancing on the biggest stage, on tour with one of the world’s most popular musicians became a reality. For 6 years, Christian was on tour with Taylor Swift, living the dream he had as a young child first deciding he wanted to make his favorite activity his life and livelihood.
I already knew he was a well rounded, intelligent guy. But interviewing him, I also learned he’s adaptable. Anyone looking at a big career switch or who wants advice on how to follow their passion (even when, sometimes, those passions change) could learn a thing or two from this guy.
Plus, he’s a great account manager and has been a rising star for a long time here at Ad Purp.
Let’s dive right in…
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New York, but I grew up in Westminster, Maryland.
How long have you been living in Los Angeles?
Actually, last week was my 8-year mark.
Tell us about your educational background. Where and what did you study?
I received my BS in marketing from CSUN with a focus in management consulting.
When did you begin dancing?
I started dancing when I was 15. I had come home one day from school to see my sister’s dance studio was offering an all-guys hip hop class. I decided on a whim to give it a try and ended up really enjoying it.
What was it like dancing with Taylor Swift? Any lessons you learned from such a unique experience like that?
Working with that team on three tours was an honor and provided me with an environment where I was surrounded by professionals at the top of their careers. It was consistently humbling and really took me out of my comfort zone as a typical 21 year old when it all started. The opportunity to travel the world (a few times) and experience a lot of different cultures and fascinating people definitely provided me with some great memories and experiences. The biggest lesson I learned was that it isn’t as scary as you think to pursue something you’re interested in or passionate about. You never know what could happen.
What made you interested in affiliate marketing and eventually in Advertise Purple?
The pay-for-performance model of affiliate marketing is the main reason I began taking a deeper look at it. With the right partners and historical data, the guesswork of marketing is reduced and allows for strategic, organic placements where you pay only for results. That’s where Advertise Purple came as a perfect fit. From my initial interview, I could quickly tell that they not only have the experience and resources available to make this channel successful for their clients, but a holistic understanding of the potential for its future.
How have you adapted to this new lifestyle after living life on the road dancing before?
After 6 years on the road, I am happy to have a homebase. You can only sustain hotel pizza delivery for so long.
Tell us about your experience at Ad Purp? Any challenges? Anything you didn’t expect?
I did not know how bad I was at ping pong until I participated in our company tournament, so that was a pretty big challenge to get over.
What do you think about the culture at Ad Purp?
The culture here is incredibly supportive. Everyone, from upper management throughout the company, goes out of their way to assist their teams and provide the resources necessary for both individual and collective success. It’s very refreshing!
What goals do you have for your career going forward?
Obviously, I have a diverse background, but through my various roles I’ve always been most interested in strategy. I enjoy looking at problems from a high-level perspective and finding unique and creative solutions. One of my goals is to lead a team while leveraging our agency’s strengths to better serve our clients and support Advertise Purple as a whole.
How would you describe the learning curve for someone who is trying to work in the affiliate space?
The affiliate space has changed significantly over the last decade, and I think it’s important to use the history of the industry to find success as it moves into the future. One of the larger learning curves is understanding how to find the right partners to drive successful campaigns in a space with a checkered past but exciting future. To do this, I believe it’s necessary to develop solid relationships with both my clients and our publishers in order to create lasting partnerships that are mutually beneficial and focused on the core of what each brand has to offer.
Word on the street is you have a motorcycle… badass. When did you start riding?
Have you been in traffic on the 405 during rush hour? Without my bike I think I’d go a bit crazy! My uncle taught me how to ride motorcycles a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorite memories. My first trip on my own bike was Texas to California, and I haven’t looked back since.
What advice would you give to someone making a career switch like yours?
I have always found it helpful to focus on the things that interest me and bring me fulfilment and dive right in. I’m also a big reader and enjoy learning new things, which has helped me pivot throughout my career.
I have to give a special thanks to Christian for his time and to Natasha Bhogal for the photograph.