MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the fifth time in Best Buy’s history, a new CEO leads the company. And for the first time, it’s a woman.
Corie Barry is now the eighth female CEO of a Fortune 100 company– and the youngest female. But the former CFO of the company brings 20 years of experience.
“I had time to spend time in retail and in the field working with GMs and leaders in the stores all the way to spending time with our analysts and investors and understanding what their questions are about the future of the company,” explained Barry.
Piece by piece over the last 20 years, Corie Barry has built a foundation of business skills at Best Buy. It’s the base the 44-year-old will use in her new job as CEO, but she knows she’ll have to keep building.
“If I pretend that the 20 years of experience that got me to here is going to be what gets me to the next place that also isn’t right,” said Barry. “I need to keep getting out there and chatting with people and learning how it’s changing.”
Barry was born and raised in Cambridge, Minnesota. But she traveled across the country with her parents who were artists — giving her a lot of perspective.
“So I have experienced a lot of the country and there is nothing like Minnesota and there is nothing that makes me more proud than working at a great Minnesota company and having so many employees here that just love being here,” said Barry.
The mother of a nine and 12-year-old, Barry says she has two full-time jobs: mom and CEO. She’s not presumptuous to give advice to other working parents; she simply recommends trying to find what works for you.
“I’ve really felt strongly that I’m the one who gets to define like I hope all women feel you’re the one who gets to define what that looks like for you, and only you and whatever your family unit looks like can make that work.”
Barry credits her Liberal Arts education at College of St. Benedict’s for giving her the basics needed to succeed at Best Buy and teaching her to think critically in a very different way.
“Because it’s an all women school, it’s also geared at teaching you what it is to be a woman in the workplace and it’s ok to talk about what it might look like to be a woman in the workplace and that combination for me was incredibly powerful,” explained Barry.
Her focus is not on being a female leader — it’s just being the best CEO the company has had.
“What’s kept me here for 20 years is not the work,” said Barry. “The work is wonderful, I love it, but what keeps you somewhere for 20 something years is working with people you admire, you respect, and that you know are there for you not just at work but sometimes just in your life. That is the thing at Best Buy that is not replicable.”