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Leaning Into a Southern Oregon Career

Noelle Christensen, Vice President and General Manager, Massif

October 29, 2019 E2E Meeting – SOE2E.com

By Cynthia Scherr
October 31, 2019

Who would trade a stable corporate salary, regular work hours and stock options to join a start up?  Noelle Christensen did. “It sounded like fun!”

Noelle followed a corporate path after graduating with a degree from Southern Oregon University in business.  Harry and David had the good sense to hire her right out of college as they were expanding their retail footprint.  She learned the retail business from inventory management to packaging. 

After Harry and David slowed their bricks and mortar expansion, she joined Musician’s Friend, a public company in Southern Oregon.  There she learned about logistics management, ecommerce and catalog merchandising, supply chain and the demands on a public company for quarterly results.

When friends in Ashland approached her about joining them at Massif, a flame resistant clothing start-up, she left the “security” of a corporate job for one that promised new learning and excitement.

Six years and two ownership changes later, Noelle was on her way to meet friends when a phone call changed her plans.  “I’m going to Lean In,” she told them, “I’ll explain later.”  (She had just finished reading Sheryl Sandburg’s book, Lean In.) Noelle was asked to lead the company through the process of finding a buyer for the company and then to operate it.  She worked with Massif’s primary fabric supplier, Antex/Matchmaster in Los Angeles to become family owned once again. 

Now, as Vice President and General Manager of Massif, she has no trouble identifying and attracting talent. “I sell Southern Oregon.  People who love the outdoors, want to do mission-critical quality work and may want out of the corporate environment see us as a great fit.”  Just as the company is for Noelle. 

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