Walgreens Exec Talks Red Nose Day & How Work-Life Balance Is a 'Moving Target'



Linn Jordan, a working mom of two, knows a little something about what work-life balance is -- and what it isn't.

The senior director of brand marketing at Walgreens relishes the impact she has on communities across the country and in her home base of Chicago through her work, but she's also aware of what that means outside of the office.

"I am a firm believer in work-life balance, but that’s often a moving target," Jordan told CafeMom. "For me, it’s often about leaning into my support network, my husband, as we work together to push through the busy times."

One of those busy times just happens to be now. Jordan runs the annual Walgreens Red Nose Day campaign, which kicked off in April and culminates on May 23. Red Nose Day is a national fundraising effort to help children and families living in poverty in the US and around the world. The red noses are currently being sold for $2 each exclusively at Walgreens, and the campaign concludes with a night of programming on NBC featuring celebrities, musicians, and influencers.

Now in its fifth year, Walgreens Red Nose Day has raised nearly $150 million and affected the lives of more than 16 million kids.

"Seeing the impact is honestly the most humbling, yet motivating part of the work my team and I do every day," Jordan said. "It brings tears to your eyes and joy to your heart every time."

In addition to her work at Walgreens, the mom of 11-year-old daughter, Grey, and 7-year-old son, Hayes, talked to CafeMom about "girl power," sacrifices, and what advice she would give her younger self.

  • As a mom and company leader, how do you make it all work? What sacrifices, if any, have you had to make?

    Linn Jordan

    "[My husband and I] operate as a unit, managing two full-time careers, raising two children and a dog, while managing our own daily workout routines. It’s about constant communication with each other and always remembering that family is what’s most important at the end of the day.

    "By no means am I saying that it’s easy. It’s a constant struggle, and it can mean that I am working at night after the kids go to bed or even on Sunday nights. I do reserve Friday nights and Saturdays for no work. Those days are sacred to me. I have learned a lot over the years, and I do plan to share these learnings with my daughter when she is older. I don’t want her to make the same mistakes I did as a mom and woman leader."

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  • How do you promote "girl power" with your kids?    

    "My mom is one of the strongest women I know. She raised children, worked a full-time job, and managed the books for our family’s ranch while my dad worked full-time as a banker and operated our family ranch. Growing up, money did not come easy, and I often draw on my childhood for inspiration and motivation.

    "I constantly remind Grey that she’s smart, strong, and beautiful. I tell her she can be whoever she wants and accomplish anything. When we have quiet mom-and-daughter moments, I like to share stories about the strong females in my life. I want their legacies to live on in her.

    "While Hayes is a young boy, I believe it’s important to develop young men that show girls and women respect and are advocates for them in today’s world. He will also know what it means to be a gentleman. Beyond that, it’s important to me that he knows that women can do what men have historically done, and men can do what women have historically done. He has the best role model in his father, who is the cook in our family and splits all household duties with me, so I know he’s in good hands."

  • In your work, you confront heavy issues like childhood poverty. How do you talk to your kids about that?

    "Today, raising kids is more complex than ever, but I cannot turn a blind eye to the issues impacting their daily lives. I choose to control the narrative and empower them with factual information on the issues impacting the world in which we live. We speak the truth in our house.

    "This is also a great opportunity for me to remind them of my work and how Red Nose Day is working to lift children out of poverty."

  • Tell us about the five new Red Nose styles this year. Which one is your favorite and why?

    "To recognize the fifth annual Red Nose Day, we have five collectable character Red Noses joining the effort to keep children in the US and around the world safe, healthy, and educated.
    Led by Red -- the original Red Nose -- newcomer Red Noses include Rojo, Ruby, Scarlet, and Rusty, each of whom has a special power to address serious issues affecting children living in poverty: illness, homelessness, hunger, and illiteracy, respectively.

    "My favorite nose is Ruby, who represents homelessness, because there are thousands of homeless children living throughout the United States. As a mom and corporate executive, I am eternally grateful for the opportunities my family has had. Yet, I also know there are children who don’t have homes or a blanket to keep them warm at night."
  • What career advice would you give your younger self?

    "I would tell my younger self to 'keep going regardless of how you grew up and where you came from.' I grew up in a very small town in Eastern Colorado, and my family didn’t have a lot of extra money. I now work for a global healthcare company as a marketing leader. Your dreams and career aspirations are achievable."

  • What parenting advice would you give your younger self?

    "I would tell my younger self to 'trust your gut and your heart.' As parents, we can sometimes overthink things. Your gut and your heart are your guide. I would also tell my younger self to limit time on social media. Everyone’s lives are not what they appear to be on social media, so spare yourself and spend that time talking to your kids or your spouse."

    (This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

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