Chris Jackson Celebrates Five Years as President & CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

This month marks a milestone for Chris Jackson, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, who is celebrating five years in his role.  

“I am extremely excited and humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this amazing organization. The mission, passion and excellence of team members and leadership, as well as the ability to help positively transform communities, inspires me,” Jackson said when he first began his role in 2017. “Having experienced many of the same obstacles faced by the people we serve, it is my privilege and honor to elevate our mission of and to be a champion for the development of trusting relationships, access to opportunity and long-term support to help people achieve their dreams and aspirations.” 

In just five years, Jackson has achieved much success in his role, most recently being named one of Charlotte Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs of 2022, and made pivotal changes to advance Goodwill in the Southern Piedmont community.  

Since assuming his role in 2017, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont has served more than 30,000 people in the Charlotte region under Chris’ leadership, and made an intentional effort to invest in its team members. Chris led the charge to increase wages for frontline team members and enhance benefits offerings for all team members, which resulted in an investment of approximately $4 million in team member benefits to support nearly 1,000 team members and their families in 2022.   

Additionally, he worked to create a culture where diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) were a top priority at the nonprofit. In fact, in 2021, Jackson was honored with the Goodwill Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award by Goodwill Industries International, which recognizes a CEO who consistently demonstrates strong leadership in inclusion and diversity. Under his leadership, Goodwill closed its retail stores for the first time to celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; participated in a racial equity challenge with United Way; made creating space and time for authentic conversations about DEIB an organizational priority; established an internal DEIB advocacy group; and unveiled renewed mission, vision, and values statement for the organization that focus on equitable access to opportunity and prosperity.  

While Goodwill is known for helping people find work, the organization now provides more wraparound services and resources to the community than they did when the organization was founded more than 55 years ago. Now, the organization’s vision is a community in which equitable access to career opportunities is available for all, and its mission is to build pathways that help people pursue the life they want to achieve. “These words reinforce the role we play in the community, as our organization’s work stretches far beyond just employment,” said Jackson. “We believe these are unifying statements that not only guide our work but represent our holistic approach to supporting people in our community on their journeys and creating more equitable access to career and personal development opportunities throughout our region.” 

For Jackson, success isn’t achieved alone, which is why under his leadership, Goodwill encourages partnership and collaboration to help its team and the people they serve in achieving their goals. Just one year into his tenure, in 2018, Cognizant U.S. Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and other technical education programs, granted Goodwill $1.5 million to expand its IT training program. And in 2019, Goodwill partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Central Piedmont Community College, and The ROC to establish the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center, to train and certify high school students and adults for in-demand trade skills employers are desperately seeking, free of charge.   

“We recognize the skilled trades are an essential part of helping to build our growing city and having these skills can lead to in-demand, high potential careers. We also understand the path for individuals in our community to attain these skills is sometimes met with obstacles. Together, we can make the path to these careers possible for people in our region,” Jackson said in a press release. During his tenure, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont was also one of the first two nonprofit organizations in Charlotte, NC to be awarded a generous unrestricted grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. 

Jackson joined the nonprofit in November 2010 as Vice President of the Strategic Planning and Organizational Development division with responsibilities for the design, management and support of annual and strategic planning processes, and performance measurement systems. In April 2013, Jackson was promoted to Executive Vice President of Workforce Services & Organizational Development with expanded responsibilities to oversee the organization’s employment and career development services, annual and strategic planning process, performance management systems and human resource functions.  

Jackson is the fifth president in the organization’s 56-year history. 

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