Broadbent Keeps Service Mantra

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    By Elizabeth Kasper

    When Chrissie Broadbent was young, she would often get toys such as Barbie dolls for her birthday. Like other girls her age, she would immediately introduce the new Barbie to her old dolls and start playing.

    But unlike other girls, Broadbent would be found by her mother the next day lovingly giving the new doll to her older sister to play with.

    Years later, not much has changed. She may not be handing out Barbie dolls anymore, but the retiring BYUSA executive vice president has worked to make her life one of service. A quote on the bulletin board in her BYUSA office sums it up well: “For me, I feel close to the Savior when I can do in a small way for someone else what He would do if He were there.”

    “It all comes back to service,” Broadbent said. “Whether it”s to the masses or one at a time, it”s all about charity and love.”

    A former homecoming queen, head cheerleader, choir girl and stage star, Broadbent has taken under her wing the unpopular kids along with the popular ones and created a world that all around her wish to be a part of.

    “Chrissie has an innate ability to connect with people on a sincere level,” said Brady Broadbent, her husband. “[That] skill ha[s] translated into her being a very strong leader because people want to do things for her and … support her because she supports them.”

    As a member of BYU student leadership, those qualities have served her well. Unlike her predecessors, Broadbent has met with President Samuelson on multiple occasions and has developed a relationship between the administration and BYUSA that was shaky before her tenure.

    “Chrissie”s gotten more access to the university administration than any president in the four years I”ve been here,” said Jared Chapman, assistant director of student leadership and Broadbent”s mentor. “She”s gotten us credibility and opened doors that have been closed to us in the past.”

    Chapman said Broadbent”s service is valuable because of the importance she places on creating solid relationships.

    “I remember sometimes when a volunteer would be having a hard time, Chrissie would say, ”Let”s go to lunch,”” Chapman said. “Chrissie just sees where they”re coming from and gets to know them before trying to solve the problem.”

    BYUSA President Adam Larson agreed.

    “Her greatest strength is her ability to lead with love,” Larson said. “Regardless of who the person is, she resorts to love and kindness. People react very positively to her.”

    Broadbent began her service with BYUSA as the executive director of the Student Advisory Council, a position she called “the Relief Society president of SAC.” In this capacity, she would take care of the needs of the 40 people on the council, recognize occasions like their birthdays and encourage good morale between BYUSA and the university colleges. Following this, she served as the program director of the True Blue Football activity and didn”t actually play, “but I slid down the hill and got all foamy,” she said, laughing.

    Broadbent”s favorite activity with BYUSA from her year as executive vice president was the Y Read campaign, which was set up to echo President Hinckley”s challenge to read the Book of Mormon. Being able to collect approximately 500 testimonies from students to put in a book to be presented to President Hinckley was something she was very proud of, Broadbent said.

    “We met with President Samuelson and he showed us a scripture in Mosiah about serving peoples” temporal and spiritual needs,” she said. “I really learned about service from the campaign.”

    Although her life reflects a myriad of accomplishments and happy memories, Broadbent”s life hasn”t been without struggle. At 6 years of age, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and suffered for seven years with intense pain.

    “She”s just invincible with all she”s been through,” said Cindy Sant, Broadbent”s mother. “She was blessed with total remission … and from then on, she”s proved she can do pretty much anything.”

    Broadbent is “a born leader” in school, church and their family of four children, Sant said. In high school, Broadbent ran for student body secretary and was “a shoo-in” because “hardly anyone ran against her” when they found she was campaigning, Sant said.

    “She”s always been a people person, and people matter to her,” said Wayne Sant, Broadbent”s father. “When you”re a good leader, you care more about other people than you care for yourself, and that”s Chrissie.”

    Larson was quick to say that although she has a serious and professional air about her, she isn”t all work and no play.

    “The thing that keeps coming to mind is her dance parties,” he said, laughing. “She just loves to dance, and that”s who she is at heart to me. Although she puts on a front of being serious, she really isn”t.”

    Broadbent and her husband are looking forward to new adventures as both will graduate in April. With her degree in broadcast journalism, she said she hopes to put what she has learned in school and through BYUSA to work in Boston.

    Asked to describe herself in one word, Broadbent chose a descriptor she said she was working on trying to fulfill.

    “I”d like to be Christlike,” she said. “There should never be a disconnect between who you are and what you do and the gospel.”

    (For comments, e-mail Elizabeth Kasper at )

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