Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of America’s largest grocery chain (The Kroger Co.), serves more than 14 million people each year across 2,200 pharmacies, 220 clinics, and multiple telehealth solutions. As the country’s 5th largest retail healthcare organization, it sits in a space of its own at the intersection of food and medicine. Colleen Lindholz has been passionately guiding the company’s work in this area for years. Today, she’s taking on COVID-19 while also preparing the company for a world where healthy diet, immunity, and wellness will be more important than ever.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

11:07 The opportunity of a lifetime. “It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to lead on the frontlines of the frontlines. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years and I’ve never seen a time like we’re seeing right now. I’ve never seen people come together like I’m seeing right now. The collective efforts of the 460,000 people that work for The Kroger Company across the country has just been amazing. Amazing to see people being a part of something bigger than themselves…Every decision that we make is grounded in our values and our purpose…to feed the human spirit. We’ve never seen it like we’re seeing it right now come alive, whether it be in our stores or beyond our four walls. The work that we’re doing with the government to expand the COVID testing locations has just been a true testament to who we are and what we believe in. It’s definitely been a whirlwind, but it’s an honor to be a part of it.” -CL

12:18 What companies need to be doing right now. “Now more than ever it’s so important for companies to really live and breathe their values, purpose, mission, and vision. Lots of times its words on a paper, but I’ve always seen it come to life in the work you’ve been doing and what Kroger’s been doing. But it’s so critical right now…People are looking for hope and inspiration during this time.” -KS

27:41 Colleen on the power of commitment. “It’s a lot about commitment, it’s a lot about where you come from, who you are, your purpose in life in general. I know why I’m put on this earth, and I’m not going to stop pushing for change, I think that there’s a lot of change that needs to happen in our country, and I believe in it. Commitment, when you commit yourself to something, and you say, ‘I’m going to go do this no matter who pushes back.’ When there’s adversity and doubters all around you, you just have to stay persistent.” -CL

37:54 Traits of great leaders. “I really believe the greatest leaders lead with integrity. They lead with passion, as well as intellect. If you just have the smarts but don’t have the passion and integrity, you’re not going to be a great leader. When you have all three amazing things can happen.” -KS

40:06 The most important value. “I think just being authentic and being who you are and not trying to be something different, and doing what you say you’re going to do. Don’t go say something and not go do it…I want people to say, ‘She’s real…what she says, she goes and does.’ I always put authenticity and trust up there. With my team, I tell them, ‘If I cannot trust you, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how many letters you have behind your name…it doesn’t matter what your experience is, it doesn’t matter to me.’ It does not matter, what matters is that I can trust you.” -CL

47:57 Kash’s One Big Thing. “When you want to succeed – when you want to win – you want to have not only the best people that do great work, but people that you can trust. The people that you’ve already been in the wars with, that you’ve been in the trenches with. That you trust to have your left side, your right side when you’re going into battle. You have to have that shared mission, vision, and values. You have to be able to connect ‘on the court and off the court’ because if you don’t, you’re never going to make it happen.” -KS

Christine Day helped elevate Canada-based Lululemon to one of the premier sportswear brands in the world. Then, after witnessing her mother struggle with complications from Type-II diabetes, she knew she had to do something. Five years later, her growing company, Performance Kitchen, is taking on the frozen aisle, chronic disease, and Coronavirus.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

8:54 Christine’s time at Starbucks & Lululemon. “Being so amazed by [Howard Schulz’s] passion, and purpose, and the type of company he wanted to build…What hooked me and really shaped a lot of my management philosophy was working for somebody who was really out to change the world through a cup of coffee.” -CD

15:06 Christine’s pivot to pursue her passion. “For me, I’ve always had a health & wellness bent to everything I’ve done. I’ve loved food and cooking and had a huge interest in it. But what really took me over the edge was my mother, due to a pancreatic illness, ended up with Type 2 diabetes and at the end stage of that, after 25 years, unfortunately went through limb loss and then ultimately dialysis. During the end stage of that journey, particularly after limb loss, going to the grocery store and trying to find food that actually met the doctor’s orders…I was shocked to see that there was nothing in the prepared food aisles that actually met the standards.” -CD

23:35 The mixed impact of COVID-19 on the food/grocery industry. “One of the biggest silver linings I really believe that’s going to come out of this is that people are going to demand more better-for-you options in the grocery store. They are going to demand to know what’s in their foods and they’re going to want more of those whole foods. They’re going to want to understand how they can boost their own immunity.” -KS

26:00 Food as medicine. “There’s been this juxtaposition where everybody knows that food can be a strong enabler on the preventative side of healthcare. We can help prevent disease before it starts. But I’ve also heard the other side of the debate where people say, ‘Hey that food as medicine concept is for the haves, not the have-nots.’ It’s almost this elitist concept. I think the struggle is for the big retailers to understand that this is relevant for everybody. Now, coming out of this pandemic, we really believe that people are going to be demanding it.” -KS

32:26 Leadership lessons from SARS & The Great Recession. “Having been through crises before, it’s so important to hold the vision for what the future can look like and take the actions that you need to take now to ensure the survival of the company and the care of your people and your customers. But really the long view helps. And that perspective of resiliency and the path forward and the view to what the possibilities are coming out the other side – it’s so critical to keeping your team engaged.” -CD

45:07 Kash’s One Big Thing. “People are going to look at food much differently. Fifty percent of this country has a chronic disease. We spend over $3 trillion on healthcare, yet we’re the most unhealthy country on the planet. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension – that is the epidemic. We’re talking about a pandemic, that is the epidemic that this country is dealing with. I’m hopeful and optimistic that after this people are going to start caring more about health.” -KS