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Visionary Bill Christensen Shares With Future Business Leaders At Charlotte

Under the visionary leadership of CEO Bill Christensen, JELD-WEN, a global powerhouse in the manufacturing of building products, is undergoing a remarkable transformation. The company, with its roots planted firmly in Charlotte, operates across 15 countries, specializing in the production of windows and doors. Christensen is steering JELD-WEN back to its original ethos, a family-oriented culture cherished since its inception over six decades ago in Oregon.

During a recent engagement with the future business leaders at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, Christensen shared the foundational philosophy of JELD-WEN’s success. “JELD-WEN founder Dick Wendt used to say if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers, and that will take care of your stakeholders,” he recounted to the captivated audience at the C-Suite Speaker Series held on February 13 at the Popp Martin Student Union.

Christensen’s own story is as diverse as it is inspiring. From his early days in Barbados to his time as a student athlete in Winter Park, Fla., and his extensive experience managing businesses across Europe, he brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to his role at the helm of JELD-WEN.

The focus of JELD-WEN’s ongoing transformation under Christensen centers around “three key pillars — people, performance, and strategy.” This holistic approach aims not only to enhance business operations but also to cultivate an inclusive workplace environment, drawing on Christensen’s extensive background in leading significant organizational changes.

Key to this transformation is the encouragement of a culture of inclusivity, where thousands of JELD-WEN associates worldwide are empowered to contribute ideas for the company’s improvement. “Our transformation is focused on three key pillars — people, performance, and strategy,” Christensen emphasized, underlining the importance of collective effort in driving progress.

Christensen’s global upbringing and career have instilled in him the importance of a broad perspective in today’s interconnected business landscape. He urged the students to embrace opportunities to study and travel abroad, highlighting the value of diversity in fostering richer discussions and more innovative ideas.

Reflecting on his rapid ascent within JELD-WEN — from executive vice president and president of JELD-WEN, Europe, in April 2022 to global CEO a mere eight months later — Christensen shared insights into the unpredictability of career progression. “Timing is never right,” he remarked, advising aspiring professionals to remain open to unexpected opportunities and challenges.

For Christensen, career development is a long-term endeavor, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. His journey to the top of JELD-WEN is a testament to the power of strategic planning, adaptability, and the readiness to embrace the unknown, offering valuable lessons for anyone aiming to make their mark in the business world.

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