Chris Bjorklund New Media Consultant and Consumer Advocate
Chris spent the first 11 years of her life in Hobart, Indiana until her father, a doctor, decided to specialize and moved the family to Minnesota near the Mayo Clinic. She says that this Midwest upbringing is responsible for her strong work ethic.
Chris graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Santa Clara University, (California), majoring in History with a minor in Spanish. Afterwards she moved to Colorado and worked for awhile in schools (hoping to become a high school teacher). Not able to find a teaching job, she took a position with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This turned out to be a major career-changing experience. “I handled the complaint lines, filed complaints and gave speeches on behalf of the BBB. I was inspired to work to protect the consumer from unsafe food, unsafe toys, unsafe drugs, etc.”
Because of her work at the BBB, Chris decided to go back to to school at the University of Maryland and get a MS in Consumer Economics. Since then she has always worked in the field of public interest nterest “…looking out for the little guy.”
Chris moved to San Francisco where her first job after University of Maryland was in the Mediation Unit of the District Attorney’s office. That led to a job as a consumer news producer for the Consumer Reporter for KPIX-TV, which in turn led her to a position as Consumer Reporter at KGO radio until 1996.
Today Chris wears several hats. One is the Spokesperson for American Ratings Corporation, which created Diamond Certified. She’s known as the “Savvy Consumer.” She writes consumer tips for all the Bay Area newspapers does radio and TV ads, writes an email newsletter and advises the company as to what is best for consumers.. In addition she is the podcast Editor (manages the podcast library) for AllBusiness.com owned by Dunn & Bradstreet. Allbusiness.com is an educational website for growing small businesses. Chris interviews experts on different subjects of interest to small business owners. She’s done shows on how to fire someone or how to use social media more effectively, how to better manage your cash flow, etc.
Chris admits, “My biggest work related challenge is keeping pace with how quickly things have to be done, learning new technology and staying relevant. The most rewarding aspect of my career is sharing my knowledge by mentoring and empowering others so I guess you can say that I finally found a way to be a teacher.”
“The keys to success in this field are reliability and not making promises you can’t keep. I have found that showing up is huge. There is more perspiration than inspiration involved.”
Chris says that one of the biggest changes in the field of consumers protection from when she first began is the amount of information now available at the consumers’ finger tips, online. In the past, you had to physically go some place or phone someone to get information. She believes the most important skill now for consumer is “vetting” – sorting through massive amounts of information and pulling out what’s relevant and meaningful.
When not working Chris loves bike riding and going to garage and estate sales. In addition, she started taking Aqua Fitness* about 12 years ago and is now teaching people of all ages.
*Aqua Fitness is vertical exercise in the water. It is not swimming – it’s better to think of it as vertical core conditioning, which can be done in deep water with a belt or shallow water.