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Hometown: Santa Fe, NM

Degree(s) Obtained / Years Graduated from SAGU:

Bachelor of Science (BS), Marketing, 2011 SAGU

Master of Business Administration (MBA), 2015 Southern Methodist University

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Robien Christie. My wife, Taylor, and I live in Bentonville, Arkansas. I’m a small group leader for a bunch of 8th graders, I help run the business side of my wife’s medical practice, Whole Wellness, and I really enjoy playing soccer, being outdoors and playing with our pomeranian, Henry. I’m also really blessed to be a Director and the Chief of Staff for Walmart Business. 

Q. How did your time at SAGU influence/ prepare you for what you are doing now? 

The thing that sticks out to me most is servant leadership. You can read about servant leadership in books or hear about it in inspirational speeches, but it’s hard to truly understand it until you experience it. When I look back at my career, my first experiences in servant leadership were probably with the faculty and teaching staff at SAGU. I’ve personally observed how Dr. Bridges and leadership at SAGU treats employees, regardless of levels and I’ve also personally experienced how the professors at SAGU make a time investment into the lives of their students to prepare them for their careers.

I’m not always successful at it, but I try to be a servant leader. The hourly associates at Walmart that push carts or unload freight trucks are as if not more vital to the business as me in my role and the feedback they have from direct interactions with customers is so valuable. And every year, we have interns and new hires that sometimes need an extra time investment to understand how to perform in their role. I have to be open and respectful to their questions and come alongside them to help them develop confidence in their role. At the end of the day, leadership is a privilege and it’s my responsibility to care for my team. 

Q: How did you know you wanted to be in your current field?

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would have almost always answered a business person. I grew up working in my parents’ businesses and I really enjoyed the marketing and business development part. That was an organic path to me pursuing marketing while at SAGU and then into a marketing role right after college. After that, it becomes a little more unconventional. I did go to Southern Methodist University (SMU) to further my education and earn and MBA, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. I chose to go into a rotational post-MBA program at American Airlines to figure that out. I had a few rotations in revenue management, operations strategy, program management and M&A. Turns out, I wasn’t particularly passionate about a specific subject matter. Instead, I found I really enjoyed solving difficult problems that were often complex, with a lot of stakeholders, no clear path forward and very open ended. Since then I’ve gravitated towards working on strategic initiatives, innovation and chief of staff roles where I have to solve broad leadership problems that also force me to dig into details in every area. 

Q: Tell us a little about your respective role in your current career.

I’m currently a Director and Chief of Staff for Walmart Business. I have a seat as part of our Leadership Team and report directly to the SVP of Walmart Business. We’re a new business within Walmart, so this has been a really fun intrapreneurship experience that blends the fun of a startup with the scale of a Fortune 1 company.

In my role, I primarily manage strategic initiatives, ensure our leaders and teams are prioritizing the most important things to scale our business, drive our team culture through reinforcement of our ways of working and support our SVP with any special projects that she has.

I also carry a very broad mandate to enable our organization to achieve our annual goals and that requires me to pivot across things like scoping and hiring for an entirely new team, determining scope and size for a new product, leading design thinking sessions to ideate on a customer experience, or doing deep dives into our customer data. There’s so much to do and I’m always learning new things!

Q: Tell us about a memorable/funny moment in your career.

I think the most memorable moment in my career was the first time I had the opportunity to present to the CEO and Executive Team at American Airlines. I remember working on a strategic initiative and my leader at the time asked me for a presentation on it. I built the deck and put together all the talking points thinking that she would be the one delivering it, but the day of the presentation, she invited me to join her. Even then, I thought I was just going to grab a seat on the outside of the room and observe, but she advocated for me to be the presenter. I’ll never forget the advice that if I’m invited to the room, then I should confidently sit at the table and respectfully share my opinion. 

Q: How has SAGU left an impact on your life? 

The biggest impacts SAGU has made have been on my relationships and on my faith. I’m so thankful for the friendships and relationships that I’ve made through SAGU. Many of my closest friends are also alumni and we’re all still connected 15 years later! As a student, I don’t think I fully appreciated the character quality of the people I was surrounded by at the time, but it’s one of the best parts about SAGU. 

I also think that SAGU laid such a strong foundation of faith in my life. From practical lessons like how to use the expository method in bible study, to the dozens of chapels that were significant development moments for my personal faith and the opportunities to practice my faith through outreach programs, I had a great foundation to lean on during rough moments in my life. I lead an 8th grade small group with about 25 students today and I still leverage the explanation, illustration, application framework when we walk through scripture together. 

Q. What would you tell a current SAGU student today?

In one phrase: you are called to develop your character; not chase a career path. 

I spent so much of my 20s trying to become an executive, sacrificing time with friends and family to work long hours and just trying to reach the next level. We are not made for this world and we’re not meant to solely invest into our career. Developing your character comes from investing in others, spending time in your community, diving into your faith and seeking a growth mindset. When you open yourself up to the idea that the character you develop exceeds a specific job or title, it will free you to pursue anything that God might call you to do.

About the University:

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private Christian university, established in 1927 by P.C. Nelson. SAGU is currently in the process of becoming Nelson University. The University is located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas, and offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees on campus or online. For more information, visit or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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