Yes, a gem. In the beautiful yet chaotic business sphere, the need of boosting organizational happiness and initiating an employee engagement revolution is more of a need than a want, and Jill Christensen fills that void by attaining the stature of – a visionary change agent, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and what not.
Re-engage your employees
After a 22-year career in telecom including heading up global internal communications at Avaya and Western Union, Jill started Denver, Colorado, USA-based Jill Christensen International LLC. in 2009, with a motive to help businesses to improve their dysfunctional business cultures via education and inspiration. Her unique ideas and methods have proved to be effective for many organizations, which understand they need to continuously evolve. “In my opinion, if I educate you, that’s good. But if I educate you and inspire you to act, that’s great,” proclaims Jill.
A former Fortune 500 Corporate Communications business executive with a Six Sigma Green Belt, Jill knows how organizations operate, and what they need to do differently to attract, retain, and engage both on-site and remote employees. “Employee disengagement is an unnecessary evil. No employee should have to go to work and despise their boss or the environment in which they are doing their job,” says Jill. She addresses the needs of such organizations and assists them to increase productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitable revenue growth. She witnessed that the vast majority of organizations that she has worked in or consulted for had bad cultures, which became the reason for the company’s poor performance. “Employees were miserable, leaders didn’t lead, communications were not open and honest, low performers were allowed to stay, managers were not trained how to lead, etc.,” recounts Jill. “Those experiences inspired me to create a solution and travel the world sharing it with business people.”
In the past three years through her keynote presentations, she has presented her proven four-step strategy to re-engage employees to more than 300,000 people in 33 industries, 38 U.S. states, and 10 countries, making her one of the most in-demand and highest-rated female keynote and business motivational speakers in the world today. She was recently named a Top 200 Global Thought Leader to Watch in 2021 and Top 101 Employee Engagement Influencer.
“Believe in yourself, have self-confidence, and speak up. It’s up to every woman to earn respect and prominent roles in organizations. It starts with believing you are enough and that you belong there”
Nothing ever comes easy
It is easy to appreciate the success of an individual, but odds get reversed when it comes to understanding the struggle behind achieving it. Jill took the greatest risk of leaving the steady pay check and benefits in Corporate America to launch her own company. “I honestly don’t have self-doubt. I’m not perfect, but if I don’t believe in me, how can I get a prospective client to believe in me?” This was possible because of her strong will to follow her passion and a ‘do or die’ ideology which she describes as her gist of eradicating the option of failure and adapting to optimism. “I shut out the outside world and go inside to gain strength. I’ve read that any work we do on the inside is 100 percent more powerful than any work we do on the outside. And I believe it. I meditate, connect with the Universe, and turn it over to God. That’s a freeing way to live,” says Jill. “I am very competitive. The will to win encourages me. I also remind myself that I’ve overcome every challenge I’ve ever faced in my life and this one will be no different. So, just breathe.” She continues to refuse to play office politics or make friends in business for the mere sake of getting ahead. “In retrospect, could I be further along in my career than I am if I had done these things? Yes. However, I would not feel good looking at myself in the mirror,” Jill states. “I’m too real and genuine for that.”
Being a woman in the business, Jill faced many challenges and suggests others eliminate every bit of self-doubt, as one can achieve anything he/she desires for, irrespective of their gender. “I do not think there is a glass ceiling. I think you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you are self-confident, smart, optimistic, courageous, strong, passionate, and genuine,” she says.
Jill recognizes the presence of gender discrimination in various businesses, but encourages budding businesswomen to be self-confident and be persistent till the end. “Believe in yourself, have self-confidence, and speak up. It’s up to every woman to earn respect and prominent roles in organizations. It starts with believing you are enough and that you belong there,” quotes Jill. She stresses the importance of being strategic and also executing. This helped her to quickly move up in her career because she measured everything she did and showed leaders the business results. She adds, “In the humblest way possible, you have to be your own biggest supporter and champion. No one can champion you like you can champion you, because no one knows you better than you know yourself.”
When asked about women’s role in her talent pipeline, she states that she is the brand and a one-woman show. She has nine contractors working for her, but they are independent and have a runway, so she does not have a pipeline per se. But she believes in giving prominence to women executives and the important elements they bring to senior leadership teams in order for companies to grow holistically. “One thing that I do to help move forward is gender equality,” shares Jill. “When I see a conference that has five keynote speakers and they are all men, I let them know how disappointing that is in my eyes. I’m trying to get them to think and do something different next time.” Jill pauses to highlight, “Women tend to have a lot of common sense, are strong communicators, and care about the quality of their relationships. Our world needs more of this.”
Though extremely successful today, Jill confesses to struggling to stay focused working on the business vs. in the business. “As a business owner, it’s easy to get pulled into the weeds and that’s not a good use of my time,” says Jill. When she is not helping companies re-engage employees and catapult business results, Jill can be found hiking, skiing, listing to music, planning vacations, meditating, collecting gemstones, attending live concerts and sporting events, indulging at a fabulous restaurant, gardening, or simply sitting quietly in front of her fireplace. Later, she journals, as it has a calming and relaxing impact on her, which is necessary so she can use her positive energy to cultivate new business strategies and inspire audience members when on stage.
Talking about the books, Jill wrote a global best-seller titled ‘If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement’, that is helping many business leaders. Also, her popular weekly blog was named a Top 100 Corporate Blog alongside Apple and Microsoft and is being used by SMBs, Fortune 500s, start-ups, government agencies, non-profits, and family-owned businesses around the globe.
Inspiring others to do great things
Currently, Jill is reaching hundreds of thousands of people a year with her solutions and messages to help build better businesses. Her goal is to reach millions more, and to continue to grow and develop as a leader. “My legacy will be that I discovered my purpose in life, followed it with reckless abandon, and changed the lives of millions of people,” says Jill.
To conclude, we are amidst the pandemic which has severely affected businesses pulling the morale of many employees. In such difficult times, we are in the need of gems like Jill, who can inspire others with their work and keep the torch burning.