Linda MacDonald is the Chief Operations Officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals in Orange County, California.  Revolutionizing cultures, vitalizing people, and achieving #1, pioneering results have been steadfast cornerstones throughout her career.  Therefore, her O.N.E. Leadership Philosophy is:

Linda MacDonald Avanir

Ownership Courage

Act with courage and integrity to be accountable

Nurture Development

Stretch people to achieve their highest potential.  Support people to achieve their highest aspirations

Expect to be #1

Expect, not hope, to be #1

What matters most to her is exemplifying the courage and agility to transform lives and organizations through innovative strategies, disciplined execution, and unwavering integrity. Hence, Stanford Graduate School of Business’ motto “?????? ?????. ?????? ?????????????. ?????? ??? ?????.” is the embodiment and zenith of what she aspires to do every day, serving as a wellspring of humility and accountability to reify – both professionally and personally – whether it be maximizing P&Ls, delighting colleagues and customers, or financing missions to support North Korean refugees and impoverished Yucatec.

Her experience spans Commercial, R&D, and G&A functions in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific regions, in a range of therapeutic areas such as Immunology, Neurology, Diabetes, Urology, Osteoporosis, Gastroenterology, Rare and Infectious Disease areas.

Linda earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from The Ohio State University, where she was the President of the Panhellenic Council and a member of the Ohio State Homecoming Court. Linda was the Conway-Chase Award recipient, the Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the Edward S. “Beanie” Drake Endowment Board of Directors, and a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She also graduated from the Stanford Executive Program at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

She started her career at Eli Lilly and Company in Sales and advanced to progressively higher levels of responsibility in the Commercial organization during her 17 years.  Her curiosity to explore the globe led her to UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company based in Belgium,  as the Head of Global Customer-Facing Excellence (CFE) Strategy and Operations.  Her passion for leadership and people development led to an opportunity as the VP & Head of Talent Services of the Asia Pacific region.

After six years in Europe and the Asia Pacific with UCB, she returned to the US to be the COO at Avanir Pharmaceuticals with functions ranging from IT to Pharmaceutical Development, CMC, and Commercial and Clinical Supply Chain.

Linda MacDonald Avanir on the Keys to Success

Companies and people alike experience success, grab onto it, and believe that it’s their very own secret sauce to everlasting success.  But they would be wrong.  By refusing to innovate and evolve continuously, this mindset puts companies and people at risk of being left behind, not realizing God-given potential to change the world positively. 


IBM, nicknamed the “Big Blue,” had its breakthrough in the 1960s with the IBM System 360 – a family of computers designed to cover the complete range of applications. 

In the early 1990s, IBM failed to adjust to the personal computer revolution and thus began its downfall. The company changed its focus back on its strength – hardware.  Today, after ongoing evolutions and new management, IBM is once again one of the most influential names in the industry – an outcome that most companies never see, such as …

Abercrombie & Fitch 

A&E was once one of the trendiest casual wear brands in the early 2000s.  Their pop culture influence, large-logo brand affiliation, and high prices shaped their main target – teenagers. 

Enter “Fast Fashion” like H&M, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe, offering a constantly revolving selection of cheap clothing at a fraction of the price.  Abercrombie now just comes off as outdated and offensive by socially conscious young adults, further reinforced by comments like the 2006 statement from A&E CEO Mike Jeffries:  “Sex sells. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” 

On top of that statement, one of the A&E district managers added:  “We would rather burn clothes than give them to poor people.”  Even though the brand desperately attempts to rebrand, it remains one of the most hated brands in the U.S.


Sony changed the way we listen to music with the invention of the Walkman in 1979.  By the 90s, Walkman was a must-have – the iPhone of its day.  In walks MP3 players, the iconic Walkman was killed by MP3s, later destroyed by smartphones. 

Sony didn’t adapt to technological innovations such as digitalization, the shift towards software, and the growth of illegally downloadable music online – although Sony actually had the technology to launch a product even better than the iPod.  The company was too afraid to test something new, thinking it would threaten their compatibilities on the market. 

So take a chance and fail!  Perfect innovation is an oxymoron. Innovation is having the courage to fall and the nerve to be non-consensus yet right.

Linda MacDonald Avanir
Job Title