Christen O’Brien is a Silicon Valley-based writer, marketing executive, and author. Her work and writing has impacted millions of people worldwide, and has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, and Medium, and shared by celebrities, world leaders, and everyday people. Whether about humanity or technology, she endeavors to find a deeper understanding of life, work, and the ties that connect us.

In January 2019, she authored an essay called “What It Felt Like to Almost Die” about a massive pulmonary embolism she had 9 years earlier that nearly took her life. It is the true account of what she observed–what she felt, saw, and heard–during the moments when her life was almost lost.

The essay went viral overnight – it was then featured on Medium’s homepage and in their newsletter, recommended by the venerable, shared by celebrities like Bindi Irwin (daughter of the late Steve Irwin) and John Edwards, and shared by thousands of people all over the world. Christen was then contacted by The Today Show and was the focus of a feature interview. The story is also being made into a short documentary by a group of esteemed NYC-based filmmakers, due ~2020. Every day, Christen receives emails and messages from readers around the globe who are touched by the story.

As a marketing executive, Christen is passionate about technology entrepreneurship and has been a key part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem for over 10 years. She has been at the forefront of promising new startups, and has worked in the earliest days with companies like LinkedIn, Box, Twilio, Jive, Atlassian, AdMob (acq. Google), Writely (now Google Docs), Slideshare (acq. LinkedIn), and more.

Today, Christen leads marketing at NFX, a seed-stage venture capital firm started by entrepreneurs who’ve started 10 companies that have exited for more than $10 Billion. Her team focuses on content development & marketing, brand, product marketing, growth, network development, and external communications.


Passionate about global economics and philanthropy, she served in the Peace Corps as an elementary English teacher in Bulgaria. That experience shaped her world view and taught her the importance of entrepreneurship to political and economic stability. She is an adventure traveler, and recently joined a conservation initiative in the jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia to trek and become an advocate for the critically endangered orangutan. A lifelong piano player, she has written several original compositions. She also enjoyes learning foreign languages, and is fluent in Spanish and Bulgarian and conversational in Italian after a few grappas. Last but most important, she is the best friend to an amazing Great Dane named Virginia Woof.

Education & Affiliations

B.A., Communications & Business, University of Southern California
Volunteer, United States Peace Corps (Bulgaria)

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