PDA Letter Article

In Memoriam: Immediate-Past Chair Jette Christensen

by PDA, Inc.

Jette Christensen

On 24 Oct., PDA lost one of its active leaders, member of the Board of Director’s Executive Committee, long-time volunteer, and immediate-past chair, Jette Christensen, who died after a lengthy battle with an aggressive cancer.

To honor Jette’s memory, PDA has launched the Jette Christensen Early Career Professional Grant through the PDA Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, Training, and Research. Read more about this grant in a Nov. 9 press release.

Below, her colleagues on the Board of Directors and her family remember this beloved member of our community.

The Family

Jette Christensen has sadly passed away following a lengthy but determined fight against aggressive cancer.

Even after declared terminally ill, Jette maintained her engagement as Scientific Director in her beloved Novo Nordisk A/S, making certain that as much as possible of her outstanding knowledge could be retained in the company.

Jette joined Novo Nordisk A/S on 1 January 1998 and became an active member of PDA just a few months later. At Novo Nordisk, she built key hygienic measures at one specific production site, and then grew into a Scientific Director role to develop and implement such measures at major Novo Nordisk-site around the world.

In close parallel to this, she was a key driver in building pharmaceutical microbiology as a new scientific and industrial discipline, chairing or co-chairing major global and regional PDA conferences on the matter, and building a close working relation with the U.S. FDA, the EU EMEA, and other key regulators.

She was the first European to Chair the PDA Board of Directors, and her contributions to PDA continued until just a few weeks before her passing.

Jette died on 24 October surrounded by all her loved ones.

May she rest in peace.

Glenn Wright

The PDA organization is very saddened by the recent loss of our Immediate Past Chair and long-term PDA Member Jette Christensen. For over 25 years she was an active contributing member of PDA serving on various Conference Planning Committees, Advisory Boards, TR teams, Board of Directors including as Board Chair. Until her passing she was serving as a member of the PDA Executive Committee in her role as Immediate Past Chair and continued to be very active until just a few weeks prior to her passing. Her commitment to PDA was unfaltering and we cannot thank her enough for all she has done. Knowing Jette personally for over 20 years I will miss not only her love of life, engaging attitude but her insightful questions and wise counsel. She will be greatly missed.

Jette Christensen Honorary Membership

Sue Schniepp

Jette was a great lady with a beautiful and welcoming demeanor. She taught me so much during the time I worked with her. I will miss her and will always remember her dignity and grace in everything she undertook.

Richard Johnson

I had the honor to work with Jette for her entire term on the PDA Board of Directors, up to and including her term as Chair of PDA. Over the years I came to know her, and her courage and determination. Jette hosted me on a great visit to Denmark and introduced me to Danish whiskey. She was a leader who always included everyone's input. She was considerate and kind and maintained her dedication despite her challenges. Jette also enjoyed interacting with a wide variety of people from around the world.

Those of us who were fortunate to know her will always remember her with fondness.

Melissa Seymour

Jette was more than simply a colleague at PDA, she was a friendly face, a mentor, and a role model to us all. I was personally so impressed with Jette's unwavering dedication, relentless passion and her constant smile. She was never one to keep an opinion to herself and wanted nothing more than to continue to improve the PDA for all of our members. She was one of the strongest voices and supporters of PDA for many, many years and continued her work until her very last days. As we reminisce about the years we shared with Jette, I am eternally grateful for the legacy that she leaves behind—a legacy filled with kindness, wisdom and laughter that will remain with us at PDA for years to come.

Buddy Bear

Bettine Boltres

The first thing to see when you looked into Jette’s face was a big smile and a warm and inviting atmosphere. She was certainly a role model for me in the way she was treating everyone around and handled challenges and different opinions. She would always make sure that everyone was heard and involved, and nobody was left behind. Always open for a good joke, at same time she made sure that we always stay on track and act in the best interest of PDA.

A real bundle of energy, Jette inspired me to follow her lead. I will definitely miss her and will always remember her broad smile.

Osamu Shirokizawa

As I read the messages from fellow board members, I realized that we unanimously admired and loved Jette-san. During my very first board meeting, I was late due to a technical issue with my PC. I was so nervous that I could not even think of my opening word. Then she called out to me, saying, "Hi Osamu-san. I can see you!" Her warm voice and welcoming smile instantly dispelled my fear and anxiety. Since then, she consistently encouraged me with her openness, steadiness, and of course, boundless kindness. I really wish I could have had a chance to meet her in person at least once.

2018 Fun Run

Mirko Gabriele

Jette was one of the first person I met as soon as I joined the PDA BoD. Her smile and always positive and inclusive bahaviour were fundamental to calm down a young italian guy just approaching a so important strategic table. She was a clear light, inspiring me and I’m sure all the others with her out-of-the-box thinking and huge knowledge of life science.

She was and will be a role model for all of us in terms of charismatic and servant leadership! We will miss her!

Amy McDaniel

I am always amazed by people who can quickly synthesize information, formulate an opinion or question, and articulate it so well for the benefit of all around. Jette had that ability, and I found it truly inspirational. I watched her from afar at PDA meetings over the years and learned a lot from her, and then, in the short time that we interacted directly, I was even more impacted by her strength, ability, and passion. I echo the sentiments of others who say how deeply she will be missed.

Emma Ramnarine

Jette's dedication and commitment to anything she took on was extraordinary. She set such a strong example of how to pursue one's purpose relentlessly, lead with fairness, grace and openness, seek and really listen to everyone's views. She remembered small personal details and truly cared about people beyond professional interactions. She leaves a rich legacy at PDA and for the industry, and I will miss her dearly.

Mathias Romacker


I met Jette the first time at the PDA annual meeting in 2018, where I had the honor to be seated next to her during the awards dinner. This was a great opportunity to get to know her better. She impressed me with her industry knowledge, but also with her very personable communication style. Being a PDA member and volunteer myself, I truly enjoyed meeting a peer who had been engaged in so many endeavors and initiatives. A few years later, we had the pleasure to serve together on the board of directors, with her being the chair. She remembered me and gave me a warm welcome on top of some coaching.

We will all miss her in so many ways.