2016 35 Under 35 Alumna Christen Anderson, Principal Designer & Owner, Christen Joy

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a Moorhead native, and attended the University of North Dakota where I graduated with a business degree in marketing. I headed straight to Seattle for a career with Microsoft for seven years. During those seven years, I eventually packed up and headed back home. I’m a proud dog owner to London, daughter, sister, and auntie. My favorite down time is cuddling with London, cooking, and hosting, throwing a party for any occasion, and traveling whenever I have the chance. I love wearing my ‘Christen Joy’ hat during the day and am thrilled to share a bit more about us!

Tell us about your career path since participating in the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program.

In 2016 I had the blessing to be a part of the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program. Prior to that time, I had left Microsoft, heading to a startup company and then an events-based company focusing on marketing and branding, strategy, and execution. During the program, I had the white space in my life and the tools I was starting to gather from the program to take the leap of starting my own Interior Design business. I had built my first home, with friends and family members asking me to help them with their own home, and a magazine requested to feature my home. With the flurry of all these opportunities, I took the business reins and signed up with the state of MN as Christen Joy (Previously Christen Joy Homes) and that was the start of it all. Since 2016, I’ve taken the steps of going full-time with my design business and have had the pleasure to work with both commercial and residential projects—locally to Washington D.C. to Seattle. We are now a full-scale interior design company offering services ranging from furnishings and remodels to new construction.

What impact did your participation in the program have on you both professionally and personally?

The program came at a perfect time for me—I needed an opportunity to have white space in my life to slow down and analyze what I wanted in my life. The program’s monthly sessions were the perfect fit to help me with the building blocks of elements that were gaps in my life or were areas that had been ‘broken down’ with past career paths. The speakers were highly sought-after local leaders who seemed to always leave me thinking about what more I wanted out of my career life but also personally—as we all know they are so connected. On top of the session material, the program surrounded me with a tribe of strong women who I was able to connect with about each session, and thoughts I had about career changes, and life goals. The quick bonds and friendships have led to some of my best friends today!

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.