Chris Jenson is no stranger to hard conversations: he makes a living helping CEOs be more effective by being willing to say the most difficult things about their leadership. As a consultant with the Table Group, he is routinely asked to step into dysfunctional corporate situations, untangle multi-million dollar messes, and help leaders learn to work together.
A native of California’s San Francisco Bay area, Chris attended Portland Bible College from 1997-1999, graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Theology. He then moved back to California, married his childhood friend, Asia, and began what he thought would be a life-long calling in ministry. After a very difficult and unexpected ending in ministry, he started work at a tech firm based in San Francisco. He quickly moved up the ranks due to his ability to develop and deploy teams. Patrick Lencioni, founder of the Table Group and author of numerous best-selling books on business management, soon noticed Chris’s acumen and asked him to join his consulting team. Chris and Asia now live with their five children in Happy Valley, Oregon. Their oldest, Bella, is a freshman at PBC this year.
Consulting for large corporations is challenging – it’s no easy task to go toe-to-toe with the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company and tell him he’s failing to lead his team well. Chris says it takes two things: humility and courage. When asked how he can be confident that his advice is good, despite not having himself been a leader in the particular situations that executives are asking his advice about, he doesn’t hesitate:
“The principles I’m telling them aren’t mine. I have the Truth from Scripture and guidance from the Holy Spirit. My confidence comes from my confidence in the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.”Chris Jenson
Those principles are effective. Chris and the Table Group have advised the CEO’s and their executives at Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Chick-fil-A, and thousands of other companies and churches. “I can’t be an expert in all those industries,” Chris laughs, “but I have the Holy Spirit and He is!”
Chris credits much of his success in life to his time at Portland Bible College. He recalls spending countless hours praying (and occasionally napping, he admits) on the floor in the Prayer Room under Dorm 3. PBC is where he fell in love with Jesus, where he became grounded in his own identity in Christ, and where he began to love learning instead of hating it. That proved foundational for Chris in ways he could never have imagined at the time.
“Everything I do now was born then,” he says. “I left PBC unquestionably devoted to Christ. And I had learned to hear and obey His voice. That has been my source throughout my life and career twists and turns.”Chris Jenson
Working daily with leaders of large companies gives Chris an inside view of what companies are looking for. “What gets you ahead on the job,” Chris says, “isn’t having a degree. What is rewarded is actually biblical behavior: humility, lack of ego, being able to handle relationships well, and a willingness to work hard instead of focusing just on your paycheck.” Chris’s own life models that. His work is his ministry, and the Holy Spirit gives him the wisdom he needs to speak life into hopeless situations.