Christi and Mark Jensen met when they were just 7 years old, through their church in Lubbock, Texas. They started dating years later after Mark returned from a religious mission in Japan. As newlyweds, they moved to Boston, where Mark completed a bachelor’s degree at MIT and, later, an M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. The couple has moved around a lot, including living in Denmark and Japan before settling in Dallas, Texas.
Mark is the founder and CEO of Primalend Capital Group in Dallas, Texas, a specialty finance company. He previously worked at Oracle, i2 Technologies, Microsoft, Dell, and PriceWaterhouse LLP.
The Jensens have four children. Their youngest, Alec, was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Christi started a home program for him, with an Applied Behavior Analysis consultant. “I’ve always had him at home. That’s been my life’s work,” she says. Now that Alec is an adult, he lives in a group home in Provo that Christi established and manages with a staff of 10.
“I think the biggest struggle Alec has faced is having friendships that are real,” she says. “When people genuinely care about him and are not just getting paid to spend time with him, he does better.
“People with autism have so much going on inside their heads that’s valuable for our communities and our world,” says Christi. “But it’s locked up inside them, and they don’t know how to express it. They have a lot to share if we can just find a way to get them communicating.”