Canary Interview with Robert Lynch, CEO of Lumber Liquidators
August 6, 2012
Robert Lynch sits on the Board of Directors at Canary Foundation. He has been the President, Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of Lumber Liquidators since January 2012. In this interview, Rob tells us about the history of his involvement with Canary Foundation.
Q: How and why did you get involved with Canary?
In 2005, I was the CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware, and I was invited to participate in the Canary Gala that was part of the San Jose Grand Prix. At that time, it was their main fundraiser. I was inspired by Canary’s strategy, mission, and vision—I was personally moved and immediately wanted to become involved.
At the time, Orchard Supply Hardware supported City of Hope through an annual golf tournament; each year we raised about half a million dollars for them. I wanted to get involved with a more local organization, because we were based in the Bay Area. I decided that I wanted use our annual golf fundraiser to support Canary instead of City of Hope.
I bumped into Don with his son at a basketball game the following year. I reintroduced myself to him and communicated I wanted the golfing fundraiser to support Canary instead of City of Hope. His eyes lit up. The rest is history: the fundraiser went to Canary, I joined the board, and I’ve been involved ever since.
Q: You mentioned that one of the reasons you got involved with Canary is because it was local, but now you’re with Lumber Liquidators on the East Coast. Why did you stick with Canary?
I’m still involved because I believe strongly in what they do. Ultimately, the attraction wasn’t so much that it was local in terms of physical location. I wanted to be involved in an organization that had a real community, a place where I could really roll up my sleeves and get involved.
I believe in giving back, and that’s been a consistent theme throughout my career—life’s not all about the rat race, about making money for yourself or your shareholders. 100 years from now, nobody is going to remember that I was the CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware, or the CEO of Lumber Liquidators. It’s so important to participate and genuinely get involved in a charity. That’s what truly attracted me to Canary: I wanted to be involved in an organization where I felt like part of the community, where I could see a tangible difference and the results of my contribution.
Furthermore, our colors even match- Lumber Liquidator’s colors are yellow and black, just like Canary’s! Clearly, it’s a match made in heaven.
Q: What sets Canary apart from other cancer research organizations?
Don’s energy, passion, commitment, and desire to achieve Canary’s goals are what really set the organization apart. He’s given so much of his own time and energy to make a real difference in cancer early detection. I’m personally a hands-on CEO, and his leadership style really resonates with me. He’s in there 24/7, working it and driving it. He’s not just a figurehead, and this isn’t just another case of Silicon Valley leader doing a fundraising thing here or there—it’s a labor of love, of conviction, and of vision.
The potential for Canary to really make a massive difference in the fight against cancer is very high- I’m honored to be involved.
Q: Tell us about your cycling experience. Will you be participating in the Canary Challenge?
Absolutely. I’m actually an avid mountain biker, but I’m a novice cycler in terms of road biking. It’s going to be tough, but that’s something that personally motivates me. I love being outdoors, and I love physical challenge- I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that goes hand in hand with completing something strenuous.
It’s a great event because just like the course, beating cancer is a challenge. I think it’s going to be really fun and I’m very much looking forward to it.