MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) names Jay Bransford as President and CEO as it grows to help more Christian leaders and organizations achieve their full potential by creating flourishing workplaces. As Cofounder Al Lopus steps down after 20 years of service, BCWI has a strong foundation from which it will continue equipping workplaces to thrive through Employee Engagement Surveys, 360 Leadership Reviews, and consulting services.
Jay Bransford brings a strong combination of skills to his role as CEO. He was hired in 2020 in a national search process as the President and COO to come alongside Al Lopus in leading BCWI. Jay has proven experience in executive leadership, organizational consulting, and leadership development.
Al reflects, “Jay has proven himself over the last 18 months to be an effective leader to implement the vision of BCWI. When we started the succession process several years ago, I knew we would need a skilled leader to move BCWI toward its long-range goal of serving 1000 flourishing workplaces in 2030.”
Jay Bransford is passionate about maximizing the performance and effectiveness of Christian leaders, teams, and organizations. He has 29 years of experience as an organizational consultant, executive and leadership coach, human performance expert, change management consultant, mentor, author, and teacher.
Jay has deep experience in both the corporate sector and with Christian nonprofits. His corporate experience includes consulting with Accenture, Fujitsu Consulting, FedEx, American Express, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Sprint, and Qwest. In addition, he provided consulting services in the areas of strategy, organizational, team, and leadership development serving mission organizations, churches, and Christian NGOs across Asia. He launched and served as the Chairman of the Asia Leaders Learning Community, creating the resources, services, and network to develop and equip the next generation of thousands of Christian leaders across Asia. He also co-authored and published two leadership books.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to lead and serve,” Jay shares. “God brought all the layers of my experience and background together in this role. This is a continuation of the call I responded to when I went to the mission field in Asia, based on John 17:23 and Jesus’ prayer that Christians work together in unity to reflect Christ to those around us. I’m eager for the next season as the team at BCWI grows and continues to help organizations have healthy, flourishing workplaces.”
Along with a strong leadership team and staff, BCWI is led by a board of directors. Dr. Rob McKenna, BCWI Board Member, and CEO of WiLd Leaders, shares about this transition, “The process of identifying and selecting someone to lead the mission of BCWI was a big deal for us. The legacy of both Al and Kathy Lopus and their deep commitment to transforming cultures in our faith-based institutions is profound. Jay brings the full package—strength, discernment, organizational savvy, and a humility that is rare.”
BCWI is launching into its next season of ministry from a strong position. During the 2021-22 fiscal year, they served the largest number of organizations ever. The BCWI model of flourishing workplaces was featured at the April 2022 Christian Leadership Alliance convention, along with the newly released book, Road to Flourishing: Eight Keys to Boost Employee Engagement and Well-Being, by Al Lopus.
In addition to naming Jay Bransford as CEO, BCWI has strengthened its senior leadership team in recent months as it sets the stage for further growth. Robert Wachter was named Global Marketing Director in early 2022. Robert is a seasoned executive, pastor, and author.
Prior to joining Best Christian Workplaces Institute, Robert served as Chief Marketing Officer for the largest Coldwell Banker affiliate in the world, where he initiated comprehensive branding, marketing, and advertising improvements across the company. In addition, Robert has worked with entrepreneurs and business leaders as a certified leadership and performance coach. Robert has gained valuable executive and ministry experience as a bi-vocational professional for over 20 years, bringing unique insight into the parallels between business and faith. He brings these insights to light in his first book The Art of Marketing Jesus.
Jay underscores the strategic importance of having a dedicated marketing executive: “For every Christian organization that BCWI currently serves, there are 100 more that could benefit and grow to flourishing if only they knew that BCWI exists. Robert brings an incredible depth and breadth of demonstrated marketing expertise across business, church, and not-for-profit sectors that we believe will drive the expansion of our brand identity and awareness so we can dramatically multiply BCWI’s ministry reach.”
As BCWI continues its mission to equip and inspire Christian leaders to build engaged, flourishing workplaces, applying best practices in marketing will enable more organizations and employees to experience environments that promote thriving.
Robert Wachter shares his thoughts on moving forward: “I’m excited to be part of the BCWI team. There is so much possibility and potential for the future as we reach more workplaces. As we put in place strategy and systems, we can continue the legacy of BCWI and reach new leaders and expand the network of people who are aware of the value that BCWI offers to organizations. Focused marketing efforts in business development, branding, and awareness will help us reach God-sized goals. In particular, we have a great opportunity to get the message out to Christian business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to make a kingdom impact through their companies. The BCWI Flourish model works for every type of organization.”
Building From a Solid Foundation
BCWI was launched when God used Al Lopus’ years of human resources leadership experience to impact Christian organizations. Al asked the question, “How can we equip Christian organizations to be the best workplaces in the world?” Then God led Al and Kathy Lopus to turn this question into a vision for a new way of resourcing Christian leaders.
The data collected from twenty years of employee engagement surveys, along with expertise in helping leaders take positive steps forward to improve their workplace culture, provide a solid foundation for the ongoing work of BCWI. Independent researchers used factor analysis on the BCWI employee engagement database to determine the eight keys to a flourishing workplace culture: fantastic teams, life-giving work, outstanding talent, uplifting growth, rewarding compensation, inspirational leadership, sustainable strategy, and healthy communication.
Al Lopus still carries the vision that Christian-led workplaces can set the standard as the best, most effective places to work in the world. As he has been intentional about leadership succession at BCWI, he will continue to encourage and support the growth of BCWI into the future. He serves as the chair of the BCWI board and will continue to be a voice promoting flourishing workplace culture.
This solid foundation equips BCWI and the leadership team to carry the vision into the future and impact more workplaces with God-honoring excellence.
If you are already aware of the value of BCWI services in your workplace, then share this information with a peer in another organization. If you would like more information about how BCWI can come alongside your organization, go to www.bcwinstitute.org.
Global Director of Marketing
About Best Christian Workplaces Institute
We equip and inspire Christian leaders to build an engaged, flourishing workplace. We believe that Christian-led workplaces can set the standard as the best, most effective places to work in the world. Founded in 2002, we help measure and improve the health of organizations through our surveys, 360 Leadership Review process, and consulting services. BCWI is organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.