Growing up on a wildlife refuge in Minnesota, Lynn Christensen wanted to know what it was like to sleep under the stars. So she grabbed her bedroll, some matches to start a campfire, a can of pork and beans, and a single companion—her horse. She was 10 years old.
Christensen, who serves as senior vice president of applications development at Workday, thrives on setting goals and reaching them, no matter how challenging the journey. She’s sailed from California to Hawaii twice. Earlier this year, she joined the spiritual walk through Spain known as Camino de Santiago, backpacking for five days through rain, sun, and blistered feet.
Most mornings before work, Christensen rises before dawn and hits the chilly waters of the Oakland estuary in the San Francisco Bay to hone her paddleboard skills. She took up the sport a year ago and has competed in five paddleboard races, winning three of them.
“As long as you have purpose and passion, and put hard work into it, you can do anything you set your mind to doing,” says Christensen.
Yet on the outside of this tough core is a warm and open person, full of self-deprecating humor and folksy Midwestern charm. For this profile interview, Christensen is wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and blue suede tennis shoes. She folds her tall, athletic frame into a chair and gamely answers questions, her blue eyes dancing as she talks about Workday and her role here.
“I’m always thinking about the endgame,” Christensen says. “In application development there are a million little things you could focus on. I pick the three most important things that will best help us reach our goal. Then I’ll shine a light on those things until the cows come home.”