Gayle Christensen, a Senior Buyer in Canyons District’s Purchasing Department, lives by the quote: “When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.”
Combined with her conscientious productivity and work ethic, Christensen’s genuine optimistic attitude and amiable personality certainly factored into her being selected as the 2023 Outstanding Public Buyer of the Year for the Utah chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing.
Please join Canyons District in congratulating Christensen for this well-deserved award, which the NIGP announced this week in conjunction with March being designated as Utah Procurement Month in an effort to honor purchasing professionals.
In addition, the Canyons Board of Education recognized Christensen among its first “Canyons Strong” honorees. This distinguished group, celebrated at the March 7 Board meeting, includes CSD employees who are nominated by their peers for giving of themselves behind the scenes, without fanfare, and with the aim of making our corner of the world a better place.
(Christensen is a devoted Utah Jazz fan, so we’ll give her a high-five along with a hearty hurrah!)
“I’m really humbled by it. I never would’ve guessed I would’ve gotten something like this,” said Christensen of the award, which annually celebrates the top Public Procurement Professional in the state. “It’s really an honor for me. It’s kind of the pinnacle of my career.”
Christensen has worked for Canyons since its early days as a school district in 2009. In her current role, she purchases all forms of technology for CSD — from computers and laptops, to iPads, Chromebooks, tech software, and bus security cameras.
Acquiring technology products has been tricky and required some out-of-the-box thinking in recent years because of supply-chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her experience, expertise and positivity have all played integral roles in the District finding ways to purchase and provide technology to help students, teachers and employees continue to succeed.
Overall, the District’s Purchasing Department has a multi-faceted mission:
- Obtain all goods and services necessary for the students, faculty, and staff in the most cost effective and efficient manner.
- Provide value-added service to support student achievement consistent with the mission of the District.
- Maintain a commitment to excellence through professional ethics and best business practices.
- Ensure compliance with all District, state, and federal regulations.
- Encourage open competition among vendors through fair negotiation and competitive bidding.
The Department is bound by the procurement profession to continuously strive to seek innovative and effective processes that facilitate the acquisition process.
Remarkably, Christensen is a beacon of positivity even while living with Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive and incurable malady.
“There are some physical and cognitive challenges that I have to deal with every moment of every day and I have done my best to work and achieve at a high level despite those challenges,” Christensen said. “I have tried really hard to remain positive and do my best.”
Christensen, who’s earned purchasing certificates, is also working hard to finish her Bachelor’s Degree from BYU-Idaho.
“She is an amazing leader and support to her co-workers and her counterparts in other school districts,” Jordan District Senior Buyer Tonya Hodges noted in her nomination of Christensen. “Gayle demonstrates drive, integrity and hard work into all that she does.”
Along with her duties at the District, Christensen acted admirably as Secretary of the Utah Chapter of NIGP from 2017-21 and has served on several Reverse Trade Show committees.
Christensen mused that purchasing for a school district isn’t quite as fun as going on personal shopping sprees, as some have joked. She’s very protective and careful with the District’s money.
“I always try to get the best value,” she said. “I feel like I’m a watchdog over the District and taxpayer funds. I’m just really careful.”
The favorite part of her job?
Hint: It’s not the purchases or products.
“I love the people I work with.”