Christina Ray Stanton: The Power of Flexibility; How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic

Karina Michel Feld
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readNov 22, 2020


Become an “expert” at what your non profit is trying to accomplish. If your org focuses on making sure international communities have access to clean water, you should know every other org that has the same focus, and what sets yours apart. In general it’s important to have as much knowledgeable on the subject you are focusing on as possible.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Ray Stanton.

Christina Ray Stanton is a Florida native who has lived in New York City for almost 30 years. Christina is a licensed NYC tour guide who has led thousands of people on tours since 1995. In 2017, she founded a nonprofit called Loving All Nations, which helps the world’s poor and vulnerable. Christina has written two books and over twenty articles that have been featured on TV channels and in top publications all over the world. She is a sought-after speaker.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, an idyllic community. My mother was/is a piano teacher, and my father was a lobbyist before passing away at a young age. I was involved in the community by volunteering in service projects and performing in community plays and school shows. I was active in church, in school service clubs, and local pageants, and took drama classes for ten years at an after-school acting academy. I was a foreign exchange student in France when I was 15, which changed my life by expanding my understanding about and concern for the world. I graduated from a small college in Georgia with degrees in Music, English and French, and performed professionally in regional theatre for two years before moving to NYC.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

All of the below quotes are empowering “calls to action” that are meant to remind us that even one individual can make a huge impact and difference.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” MLK, Jr

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” Nelson Mandela

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

John Piper “Seashells” sermon. This short, 7 minute sermon is a good reminder that we are here on earth to be in constant service to each other, and not for our own individual gain.

“The House by the Side of the Road” poem by Sam Walter Foss. This poem makes me cry every time I read it. It’s message is that “being a friend to man” is our highest calling. When I read it, I’m reminded of my favorite CS Lewis book, The Great Divorce. In that book, CS Lewis describes what a version of hell could look like, which includes people living far apart from each other so they didn’t have to interact. In the poem, there’s a line that states the same sentiment- a “fellowless firmament”. The human race was meant to live in community.

“The Learning Tree” and “The Normal Heart”movies, the documentaries “Lalee’s Kin” and “Emanuel”- All of these taught me the same lesson from different angles. That there is suffering and harship in this world, but every person on earth has dignity and significance and is worthy of respect. Forgiveness is also a theme in these selections, which is something I always need to focus on.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I moved to NYC from Florida when I was 23 years old in order to try my luck on the Broadway stage. I subsequently performed in Opera, US tours, European tours, dinner theater, cruise ships, and regional theater. To supplement my income I became a licensed NYC tour guide in 1995. I conduct private walking, bus and car tours of Manhattan for up to 50 people, and tour thousands of people annually. In 2009, I became director of the short term mission program at our church, and for a decade I assembled, trained and sent volunteer groups on excursions all over the world- 15 teams per year averaging 20 people per team. They addressed social justice issues, and initiated programs and projects that included serving orphans, those affected by HIV, and victims of human-trafficking. We trained communities in micro finance, healthcare and entrepreneurial skills, and in general walked alongside international leaders who were engaged in impactful work and learned from them. We equally learned from locals as a cross cultural exchange, which deepened understanding between cultures and bridged divides. Along the way, I founded a non-profit that was meant to be an addendum to my overseas work with the mission teams. Donations through it currently help young South Africans go to college, pays for individuals to undergo healthcare training in Madagascar (which has a broken healthcare system), and for the daily expenses of running safe houses in India for women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. I also founded a Bronx Thanksgiving Day event in 2005 that contnues to this day. I became an author in 2019 with my first book, and my second book debuted last month. I’ve authored over 20 articles that have appeared in major worldwide publications. I am a sought after speaker that speaks on topics such as 9/11 (I’m an historian), dealing with hardship, and learning from other cultures to create a broader understanding of the world as a Global community.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

I caught the virus early on (in March), and it almost killed me. As a result, I spent several months immobile. During those months, I wrote several articles and another book on practical tips of how to manage hardship, since I was learning new lessons along the way. I also focused on my non-profit and initiated several fundraisers, where proceeds were sent to international communities that were hard-hit by COVID. As a long-haul survivor, I moved back to my hometown (not permanently, but for the forseeable future) to both convalesce and help oversee care of my elderly mother. I am continuing to focus on my writing and my organization, as the virus is still debilitating poor communities and I still have the opportunity to help them.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

This new focus was thrust on me due to my sickness, but as I’ve adjusted to my new normal, I realized that even with a compromised health and energy-level, there’s still much I can do. Words are power, and I’ve been using them in my latest book and through articles to help the poor- since proceeds from anything I have written goes into my non-profit. I’ve learned, too, sometimes life dictates your direction (taking care of ailing parents, health issues), but even then there are always options and you can create impact no matter what life throws at you. Finding ways to meet needs even during challenging circumstances create growth opportunities for yourself as well. Life is a learning curve. Use what you have (your resources) despite or even because of the hand you have been dealt, and if you do it with passion and commitment, you have great capacity to effect change. I feel just as engaged with my goals than before I got sick.

How are things going with this new initiative?

Since I have a clear focus and am not being sidetracked by daily errands and distractions that I faced pre-pandemic, I feel even more effective than ever.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband Brian, as I credit him with the fact that I’m still even alive. His decisions and actions while I was sick with COVID were critical to my survival.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I am used to caring about those less fortunate in other countries and doing what I can to help them. When all the entities I have previously helped heard I might die from COVID, I was bombarded with messages, videos, letters, and emails of well wishes, prayers, and teary appeals to fight to stay alive. Any way someone could contact me, they contacted me. For example, an entire orphanage in Johannesburg, South Africa Facetimed me and sang to me. I was the recipient of aid (in the form of well wishes) for once, and it was humbling and fortifying. I believe it all did actually keep me alive.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Have a “Launch Party”. I invited all of my friends and those who had been on my mission trips (my guest list was 400). A friend let us use her space, while a chef friend of mine made the hors d’oeuvres, and I delivered a presentation. A party doesn’t have to be high-tech or fancy, and don’t feel you should only invite people with deep pockets. There is nothing like buzz, in general, since your friends will tell other friends who might be interested in what you’re doing. Also, people who weren’t in a position to offer money offered to donate their skills to help with my organization, which is needed as well!

Do newsletters. People will appreciate you keeping them updated on what the organization is engaged in. Do monthly if you can.

Have a social media page. It’s another venue in which to keep them informed on what your organization is doing. Post at least weekly.

Become an “expert” at what your non profit is trying to accomplish. If your org focuses on making sure international communities have access to clean water, you should know every other org that has the same focus, and what sets yours apart. In general it’s important to have as much knowledgeable on the subject you are focusing on as possible.

Constantly read up on new practices in fundraising and donor relations. This is an ever-changing field, so the more you know and grow with the new technology and giving trends, the more cutting edge your org would be.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I do what I call “shut off the noise”. I take breaks from social media and watching the news to give myself breaks from drama. These distractions are also time-suckers, and you need to ensure you aren’t wasting the time you could be spending on furthering awareness of your organization.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Getting out of your comfort zone and walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is as impactful a tool as anything I’ve ever witnessed in advancing bridge-building, awareness, acceptance and tolerance. This can be done locally as well as internationally. The idea would be to walk alongside someone completely opposite to your circumstances and join them in their habitat and learn from what their challenges are, where they find joy, what their environment is like and issues of culture that bear witness to why people make the decisions that they do. Coming alongside someone can help eradicate bias and the attitude that one culture does something “best”. If I could inspire such a movement, I would also handle the logistics. It could be done! At least, more than it is now.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

The following list is a disparate group where I have specific questions for each individual, such as marketing tips, what drives them, and why they have chosen to make certain public statements (including some I heavily disagree with). Joyce Meyer, Randy Rainbow, Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Franklin Graham. I feel I must mention the fact that just because I listed them does not mean I admire them or support their platforms or organizations. I am just saying I’d like to talk with them.

How can our readers follow you online?

“Loving All Nations” Facebook page, “Christina Ray Stanton books” Facebook page, website

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!