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The other Karen Christensens

It’s been amusing to see my son Tom Christensen respond to the fact that there is a well-known China expert at Princeton, and until recently at the State Department, whose name is Tom Christensen. We met him at the Asian Studies Association conference and I saw him in New York last week, too, at the National Committee’s members’ meeting, where I told him that for Tom it’s like being a minor college basketball player named Michael Jordan. While I haven’t run into another Karen Christensen, I discovered quite a while ago, thanks to a Library of Congress cataloguer, that there is a Karen Christensen at UC Berkeley whose expertise crosses mine (she is a real academic, of course!), as she is at the College of Environmental Design. And she is also a Sage author.

This train of thought inspired by work on the Encyclopedia of Sustainability. I just noticed that Whole Foods Market has a global produce buyer, who spoke recently at a sustainable food conference, called Karen Christensen. Here’s her bio, which says “From bananas to broccoli rabe, Christensen is a wealth of knowledge of all things grown from the earth.”

Better all round than a friend of mine who had a Canadian porn star as a namesake. I guess in Canada porn stars stick to their birth names – my friend’s name was a perfectly ordinary one.

2 thoughts on “The other Karen Christensens

  1. Hi. My name is Tom Christensen. I worked in trade book publishing for many years and now do museum publishing with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. There are a lot of us Tom Christensens around — I show a few of them here.

  2. And another Karen Christensen, at Rotman Magazine, who works on leadership and business: Of course Berkshire copublished the Encyclopedia of Leadership (Berkshire/Sage 2004), and I wrote the introduction and was closely involved in the development, so this is another KC working on similar topics.

    Where there’s a Will
    “Leadership lessons from Shakespeare”
    Jim Fisher, interviewed by Karen Christensen
    Rotman Magazine

    “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother…” says Shakespeare’s Henry V, inspiring his men into battle at Agincourt. But is this goose-pimple-inducing speech a plausible basis for motivating your staff? Many might smirk at the suggestion, but Jim Fisher of the Rotman Business School claims that managers can learn a lot from the Bard.

    Henry V is “focusing on process rather than on results”, he argues; the key to willing your staff on is “engaging them in a productive dynamic in an ever-improving way”. Not exactly Shakespearian, but he may have a point: an effective boss surely knows how to appeal to deeper motivations in his employees. And one might even, at a stretch, find suitable examples in the corporate world: the British shipbuilders who worked through the night to complete battleships for the Falklands war, perhaps? Or employees of a start-up who forgo pay to stave off bankruptcy. Motivating staff to clock in on time and get on with the filing—as the article appears to suggest—is not, unfortunately, one of them. Exit Henry.

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