Top 50 Under 40 Christina May

This year OED is recognizing and celebrating Frederick County’s young professionals who are leaders in their industry, give back to the community and add significant value to their company and its culture.  Join us as we get to know our Top 50 Under 40.

Christina May, 39
25 East 4th Street, Frederick

CEO and Founder of Illumine8, a digital marketing company, Christina May is an entrepreneur passionate about creating economic opportunities for others. A Frederick native, she is an alumnus of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program, a DMN Top 40UNDER40 honoree, and is a recipient of the Mount Saint Mary’s President’s Medal for leadership and service to the business community.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment is the founding of Illumine8. Bootstrapping a business without a partner or funding is one of the most challenging things I have done. Bringing that vision to life for customers and creating opportunities for employees is a dream come true.

Name one award you are most proud to have received.

I am most proud that Illumine8 was named one of the top 50 places to work in 2020 in Frederick County. To know that our team believes so strongly in our mission and culture that they would nominate us is something that I will always be humbled by and tremendously grateful for.

What is your experience with volunteering and civic engagement?

Appointed commissioner and chair of the Brunswick Economic Development Commission, spearheaded Brunswick Branding project, serving a 5-year term. Served as President, Vice President, and Secretary on the board of directors for the Frederick Symphony Orchestra for a 10-year term.

Immediate past President of the Frederick Symphony Orchestra serving 10-years. Our board turned the FSO cash-flow positive, oversaw a music-director search, and began a free music program with FCPL. During covid I also volunteered with my dog Lucy as a therapy team.

What was your first job?

Growing and selling pumpkins to McCutcheons at age 10

What do you like to do for fun in Frederick County?

Exploring the outdoors with my dog Lucy

Who is your greatest influence?

My grandfather. I watched him run his own small business growing up. He is the reason I am in business today.

What is your favorite leadership book?

Think Again by Adam Grant. To create a culture of innovation in your organization, you need to challenge yourself and your team, to embrace being wrong about what we think we know is “right” and that starts with leadership.

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success and why?

Being an introvert is one of my greatest weaknesses turned strengths. It’s taught me how to ask meaningful questions and be a deep listener.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am a multi-faceted entrepreneur. In five years I see myself continuing to expanding current endeavors and starting new ones. I’m excited by new media especially.  I’m always looking for the next challenge professionally or personally - from starting a business or renovating a house or learning how to keep bees!