McKay Christensen stepped in as the new managing director of BYU Alumni and External Relations on June 5.
McKay replaced John Lewis, who has been called to serve as a mission president in the Washington Yakima Mission, according to a press release published by BYU on June 15.
Although Christensen has only been working at BYU for a short time, his goals and his vision are clear.
“Our mission is to enhance the reputation of BYU, period. We outreach through our alumni chapters, through visitors that we welcome to the university and those that attend our events,” Christensen said. “We have an opportunity to influence them in many of those ways, and we try to do that with excellence here at Alumni Relations.”
Christensen has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble, Holiday Inn Worldwide, U.S. Shoe Corporation, and Melaleuca. His positions ranged from director, strategic planner, all the way up to president. He believes that all of this work experience has prepared him for his management position in the Alumni Services.
“I think I’ve learned how to do outreach successfully, how to build successful organizations and brands and to safeguard the reputation of those companies,” Christensen said. “Those are all things we do here at Alumni Relations.”
Matt Richardson, BYU advancement vice president, has also shed light on Christensen’s abilities as directing manager.
“McKay has extensive administrative experience and expertise in marketing and strategic planning that make him especially well suited for this position,” Richardson said. “I expect that he will make a significant contribution to BYU as he leads his team working with Alumni, Publications & Graphics and External Relations. He is devoted to BYU and our mission.”
Christensen’s vision is in harmony with that of BYU.
“McKay will help BYU to continue to build and maintain relationships with the broader BYU community: with our alumni, our visitors and guests to campus and our neighbors,” Richardson said. “He will help us reach out and make new friends as well.”
McKay has also reconnected with former fellow employees. Robert Sullivan, manager of Alumni Outreach, worked closely with Christensen when he was the president of Melaleuca. Sullivan reported to Christensen in positions such as project manager and marketing manager.
As president of Melaleuca, Christensen worked on marketing events and the corporate magazine. His experience and skills gained have proven to be useful as he begins his duties as managing director.
“McKay is laser focused for results. I knew that of him before, and I see it now,” Sullivan said. “He has excellent vision. He can look at the needs and the future of the department and be able to lead people … be able to create the correct vision and lead people towards it.”
John Lewis, former managing director of BYU Alumni and External Relations, entered the MTC as a mission president on Wednesday, June 25.
“He was here for 17 years and did a remarkable job. (He) laid a tremendous foundation for us moving forward. It’s just an awesome thing to come in behind someone like John, who’s served the university for such a long time in such a good way,” Christensen said.
Lewis made many contributions during his time at BYU, including the planning and construction of the Hinckley Alumni and Visitor’s Center and Marriott Center renovations, according to Matt Richardson.
“John’s leadership, service and contribution to BYU have been exemplary and greatly valued. He will be missed,” Richardson said.
Robert Sullivan also recalled Lewis’ time as managing director.
“John was very kind, and he knew everybody. He knew everyone on campus and he knew the right people to talk to and to be able to get things done,” Sullivan said. “He was just an open, kind person.”
As Christensen continues the work of the alumni services, he has expressed his appreciation for all of those involved.
“We have a lot of alumni who are engaged and contributing to BYU in many ways with their time and their resources. And they lead and participate in these alumni chapters all over the country and world. … We just appreciate them,” Christensen said. “They do such good work. It’s a privilege to work with them. I’d love for them to know that. I’d love for them to know that we value their participation. … We want to tell them how much we appreciate them.”