Over the course of a career spanning more than four decades, Chris Bjorklund has handled consumer affairs from a number of different angles: nonprofit, as Director of Consumer Education with the Better Business Bureau; government, as an investigator for the Consumer Fraud Unit of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and media, working behind the scenes at KPIX-TV and as a consumer reporter for KGO Radio. Through it all, Chris says her purpose has remained the same. “My entire career has been about advocating for consumers, empowering them and educating them about their rights. And after 40 years, that’s still my mission.”
Today, as a consumer specialist and consultant for the Diamond Certified Program (where she’s known as “The Savvy Consumer”), Chris says she enjoys the positive turn her career has taken. “Whereas much of my work in the past involved exposing deceptive companies and their practices, in working with Diamond Certified, I have the opportunity to highlight businesses that are doing right by their customers, so it’s been a refreshing change.”
Born in a small town in Northern Indiana, Chris took a circuitous route to get to the Bay Area, living by turns in Minnesota, Arizona and Colorado before attending graduate school in Washington, D.C. After earning her Master’s Degree in Consumer Economics, she moved to San Francisco with her husband, Patrick, where she continues to live today. After more than 30 years, Chris expresses her appreciation for the many attributes that make San Francisco unique. “San Francisco is a world-class city in every way,” she says. “I like the fact that it’s very welcoming and inclusive, which has given it a lot of vitality and diversity. It also has a great art and music scene. Plus, we’re only a short drive away from the ocean, the mountains and the wine country.”
Outside of work, Chris engages in a variety of activities, from teaching fitness to attending live music performances. “I teach water aerobics at several health clubs in San Francisco, and personally stay active by taking Pilates and biking on trails in Sonoma County. I also enjoy live music and am a member of the SFJAZZ Center.” In addition to her personal hobbies, Chris enjoys keeping up with her and Patrick’s two grown children, Molly and Dan, both of whom live and work in the Bay Area.
In her life and career, Chris espouses the importance of personal growth. “One quote I’ve held on to through the years is, ‘Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.’ Not only have I found this inspirational in my own life, but I’ll often refer to it when a friend or one of my kids is going through a difficult time.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Chris says she would continue in her role as a consumer resource. “I’d keep finding opportunities to be helpful and share my expertise with consumers and local organizations. After all, it’s not just a career for me—it’s what I enjoy doing.”