Founder/Director Speak! Language Center
Christina Ball is the founder/director of Speak! Language Center, a 15 year-old Charlottesville-based education business offering courses in 22 foreign languages and ESL. The mission of Speak! is to bridge the linguistic+cultural gap between individuals from different countries, cultures and backgrounds . As the Director of Speak!, Christina designs and coordinates language programs with a team of 50+ enthusiastic and experienced instructors, works with local and national businesses and organizations in-need of language services and nurtures just about any language-culture request that comes her way. In 2012, together with her team, Christina created and launched B-Speak!, an online one-on-one English coaching program for international business students and professionals. Christina holds a BA in Art History from Bowdoin College and earned a Ph.D in Italian Language and Literature from Yale University. She has been teaching all aspects of Italian — language, literature, culture, film — at Yale, Wake Forest, the University of Virginia and, now, at Speak! - for the past 20 years. Christina has lived the ‘sweet life’ in Rome, Bologna, Cortona, and Florence doing everything from researching the moon in Italian literature as a Fulbright Scholar to searching for the perfect gelato to creating an edition of handmade books in a chilly palazzo courtyard. She has also led many group language-culture trips to Italy. In addition to her work at Speak!, Christina is a member of the Education Committee of Welcoming Greater Charlottesville, whose mission is to provide support to local immigrants and refugees and to educate Charlottesville/Albemarle residents about the contributions of immigrants, refugees and other minorities, especially those being vilified today. You may spot Christina on the stage - or behind the scenes - at Live Arts, or other theater venues. She is also an actor/ensemble member with UVA Acts, whose mission is to use performance and dialogue as a way of promoting preventative practices that foster equitable, vibrant spaces for working and learning. Christina lives in Charlottesville with her husband, UVA Italian professor Enrico Cesaretti, their 17-year-old daughter, Mila (UVA '23) and mini Aussie, Delta.