Kroger President Colleen Lindholz: I truly believe that “Food is Medicine”
As a community pharmacist, I have been helping people for years with their medications, but have aspired to connect healthcare to food on a deeper level. I truly believe that “Food is Medicine” and the value of healthy diets and regular fitness/activity is imperative to our health. Working collaboratively across all healthcare teams (Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Dietitians) along with our community partners, we believe we can impact the health outcomes of Americans that in turn will lead to healthier happier lives.
I had the pleasure to interview Colleen Lindholz President of Pharmacy and The Little Clinic at The Kroger Co. Colleen is responsible for the company’s Pharmacy as well as Kroger’s The Little Clinic division and is leading the Kroger Health Strategy for over 2,200+ pharmacies and 221 clinics. Colleen joined Kroger as a pharmacist in the Cincinnati Division in 1995. From there, she held several Pharmacy roles within the division, including manager, coordinator, sales promoter, recruiter and merchandiser. Colleen was promoted to director of Pharmacy Sales and Marketing at General Office in 2013. She was then promoted to President and CEO of the Little Clinic in April of 2015. In April of 2017, she was named to her current role. Colleen is the recipient of Kroger’s Chairman’s. Award, Kroger’s Leadership Award, and Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery Rising Star Award in 2012. She is a founding member of the American Cancer Society’s CEO’s Against Cancer Ohio Chapter, serves on the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing Board of Advisors, and serves on the Easter Seals Board of Directors of Greater Cincinnati. Colleen is the Executive Sponsor for Kroger’s Cancer Awareness Associate Resource Group (CAARG), which is now named the Wellness Your Way ARG. Colleen lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband Eric and daughter
Thank you so much for joining us Colleen! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a community Pharmacist, I have been helping people for years with their medications, but have aspired to connect healthcare to food on a deeper level. I truly believe that “Food is Medicine” and the value of healthy diets and regular fitness/activity is imperative to our health. Working collaboratively across all healthcare teams (Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Dietitians) along with our community partners, we believe we can impact the health outcomes of Americans that in turn will lead to healthier happier lives.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At Kroger, our purpose is to feed the human spirit. Whether that is building a special cake for a child’s first birthday party, solving hunger issues in the communities we serve by donating meals, providing immunizations to keep people healthy, or providing our customers with solutions (OptUP) to simplify their life, we are making a difference by connecting with our customers on an emotional and personal level.
One example below involves an experience a customer recently at one of our retail clinics.
WALTON, Ky. (WKRC) - A local mom wants to thank her son's advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, for making her…local12.com
Another example of how The Kroger Co. stands out is how we are using the multidisciplinary team approach to better take care of our customers. We prioritize collaboration between Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, and Dietitians whom all work together to make a difference in the lives of the communities we serve. We also help our customers understand the role of “food as medicine” so we can help prevent chronic disease before it starts.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Currently we are piloting many new solutions to simplify healthcare and a healthier lifestyle for our customers. From OptUP which is our virtual assistant for healthier shopping to a TeleHealth platform that will allow our customers to connect with a healthcare provider from anywhere they need, we continue to focus on what our customers need.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
- Lead with purpose before profit.
- Establish a set of values and expectations for all to follow.
- Develop a strategy with clear measures of success and hold yourself, along with your teammates, accountable.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
- Put the right people in the right roles.
- Learn to delegate.
- Communicate often.
- And always give credit where credit is due.