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Meet the CEO: Doug Fagerstrom

The executive president and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains USA on the best advice he's ever received.
By Sean Kelly |

Doug Fagerstrom’s entire career, like his entire life, has been rooted in Christianity. He once served as president of the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary of Cornerstone University, where he helped double enrollment during his tenure. He has also written 14 books, mostly devoted to giving ministry advice. Fagerstrom was recently named executive president and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains USA, where he is responsible for sending chaplains into secular workplaces to support employees. (This can include everything from giving ethical advice in one-on-one counseling sessions and crisis intervention to regular relationship building and encouragement.) As CEO, Fagerstrom’s key focus is to encourage the expansion of Marketplace Chaplains—and the Christian faith.

First Job

I had a paper route, and through that I learned the fundamentals of business and serving people. 

Other Careers Considered

I wanted to be an architect at one time, until I took a high school drafting class and was bored silly.

Company Culture

I would say the culture here is progressive, fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and committed to the mission of changing lives.

Management Style

My style is collaborative. Some of the worst decisions I have ever made have come from behind my desk, but some of the best decisions that have ever been made were the decisions that the team made together around the table.

Success Strategies

Equipping and empowering gifted and talented people who are united on the team and focused on our mission with a clear, concise vision is the platform for developing success.

Plans for Growth

We are reaching .01 percent of the employees in America, and the room we have for growth is nearly unlimited. Every day, we seek ways to touch more people with hope, with love, and with good news.


Working with people and creating a compelling vision that is based on unquestioned core values.


I need to work on patience. I don’t have it, so I lean into others who do.


Fulfilling our mission of transforming lives. When I see people that are transformed, there is nothing that can wake me quicker than that.

Best Advice Received

That it’s not all about me. And to believe in God and others, and honor the people who surround me as part of our team.

Just For Fun

Get me on the water, in the water, or under the water, and I’m a happy camper. I’m a certified scuba diver, waterskier, and wake boarder. There’s just something therapeutic about being out on the water. My wife, Donna, feels the same way.


I love to read; I’ll probably read anything from a book a week or, at minimum, two books a month. I love to read books that are involved in real-life stories. I’m not much of a fiction reader, but put a biography, an autobiography, a historical story, or even the Bible in front of me, and I’m happy.   


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