Linda MacDonald

Leadership Development



Linda MacDonald is the Chief Operations Officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals in Orange County, California.  She is an executive with over 20 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience ranging from Commercial to Pharmaceutical Development and G&A functions across the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

What matters most to her, both professionally and personally, is exemplifying the courage to transform lives and organizations with integrity and dignity. Stanford Graduate School of Business’ tagline “Change Lives. Change Organizations. Change the World” is the embodiment and zenith of her aspirations.  Therefore, her O.N.E. Leadership Philosophy has remained consistent for over 20 years, and leadership development is at its core.

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

Linda earned her BSc in Pharmacy from The Ohio State University, where she was the President of the Panhellenic Council, a member of the Ohio State Homecoming Court, a Conway-Chase Award recipient, the Vice Chair & Treasurer of the Edward S. “Beanie” Drake Endowment Board of Directors, and a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.  

With medical school in sight, her plan was to first save money by starting her career in the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly and Company in Sales. But she quickly realized that her strengths aligned far better to business than medicine.  And the prospect of advancing into leadership, where so few women held positions in the industry, was exhilarating. So she pursued the leadership path and assumed the role of District Sales Manager in the New York City, followed by several Regional Sales Director and Operational Excellence roles in corporate headquarters.

During this time, Linda discovered the absolute imperative and exuberance of developing people, in particular the power of designing talent development strategies aligned to people’s strengths, and the impact it can have on their lives, organizations and potentially the world.

After 17 years with Eli Lilly, her curiosity to explore the world led her to UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company based in Belgium, as the Head of Global CFE Strategy and Operations. Her passion for leadership and people development led to her role as the VP of Talent Services in the Asia Pacific region – specifically India, China, Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan and Australia. 

Upon graduating from the Stanford Executive Program at Stanford Graduate School of Business, she returned to the United States as the Chief Operations Officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals. She and her husband live in Laguna Beach, California with their much beloved (and way too spoiled) fur baby, Bailey.