Joel Christiansen – Concordia University, Nebraska

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Star City Six – Joel Christiansen

Concordia University, Nebraska (, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward that offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs at its main campus, graduate college in Lincoln, and online. Joel Christiansen (, who owns and operates the Christiansen Academy, is the instructor for one of Concordia’s newest courses, the MBA Organizational Development Clinic.

Tell us a little about the MBA Organizational Development Clinic at Concordia University, Nebraska.

This is an 8-week course where Concordia University MBA students are matched up with local nonprofits and businesses to assist with the development of a marketing plan, planning of a promotional event, or development of a training program. Each student spends 100 documented hours working for the client under their guidance as well as the guidance of the MBA instructor assigned to that course.

How did you get started in the business?

During my service as a community liaison for the University of Nebraska Athletic Department Life Skills Program in the early 90s, I was asked to do some speaking and consulting work. It was a natural fit. That progressed into starting my own business, Christiansen Academy, and then becoming a professor at the college level.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Meeting the standard of excellence every time I am called to write, teach, or speak.

What has been your most important achievement professionally?

There are two. The privilege of serving as a professor at Concordia University for their MBA Organizational Development Clinic and authoring seven books (available on Amazon and

Tell us a little about your family.

I am a proud father of four children and grandfather of six grandchildren.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

Golf. Hike. Write. Travel.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?

I once shared a stage with former President and Mrs. Ford.

What are you the most proud of?

My relationships with family and friends and 36 years in recovery.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The molehill does not have to become a mountain.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?


If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Redemption Song by Bob Marley.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?

Treatment centers and AA. They saved my life.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Two. Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill and Lippy’s BBQ in Malcolm.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?

Warren Buffett.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?

Via my website,, or social media pages. You can find Christiansen Academy on Facebook, Instragram and Twitter (@speakerjoel). You can get in touch with Concordia University, Nebraska, online at

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