Boardrooms and Ballfields: Best Buy CFO Corie Barry Talks Motherhood

Corie Barry is the chief financial officer at Best Buy, a nearly $40 billion company. She also holds the title of mom.

She and her husband, Marty, have a 10-year-old son, Parker; a 7-year-old daughter, Jackson; a pit bull named Baxter, and two cats, Pickles and Chips.

Corie spends her days overseeing critical areas of a Fortune 100 company. She spends her nights going to youth baseball games, jumping on the trampoline and helping her kids with homework.

How does she balance it all? We sat down with her to find out.

First off, is there such a thing as work-life balance?

My point of view is there is no perfect balance. All you can do is figure out what works for you. I laugh because I’m always the mom who shows up at the baseball game in my heels, and that’s OK. And I’m usually 15 minutes late. I’ve had to work to be OK with that and be OK with the choices I make.

When do you feel closest to finding balance?

It’s never about the quantity of hours on any given side of the fence. It’s more about genuinely feeling like I’m a good, positive, contributing member of my family. And like I’m a good, positive, contributing member at work. When those two things are both happening, then I feel like this [balance] works for me. Some days that’s a 12- or 14-hour work day, and some days I need to run out to a band concert at the elementary school. It’s just constantly sorting through what really matters to me at any given point in time.

What does your typical day look like?

There really is not an average day, which is actually what I like. I love that some mornings I pop in to work super early so I can get a couple hours of work done before anyone else gets in. I love that some days I’m going to stay late because there’s that last problem I really want to solve. That’s fine because I feel like I’ve been given some room to also be able to move my schedule around to be there for the family things that are important. There is no perfect normal, but I’m planful. I try really hard to think through my weeks and how to be there for the most important moments.

You travel a lot. How do you stay connected when you’re on the road?

I listened to a woman speak early in my career, and she gave some of the best advice I ever got: “Don’t apologize for leaving. Instead, help your kids see what amazing things you get to do because you work hard.” I have really tried to stick with that. When I’m gone, we use FaceTime a lot. And, especially if I’m doing international travel, I like to send Parker and Jackson pictures of where I am and ask them to go do research. “Go try and figure out where in the world is mommy.” It’s a great way for them to feel connected.

Does it get easier or harder to balance things as you climb the corporate ladder?

It shifts over time. The hardest time for me was somewhere between the manager and director years, when we were just starting a family — especially with infants and daycare and sick babies. My husband and I were both working. The logistics of managing all that was just exhausting and incredibly difficult. As kids get older, you run into a different slew of problems. You run into baseball games and volleyball games and gymnastics and all of those things. It’s this constantly changing and evolving dynamic. As soon as you think you have it figured out and maybe you have a rhythm, something changes. We start a new sport. Somebody gets sick. Somebody breaks something. The cat’s throwing up. You have to try to step back, keep focused on what’s important and really try to enjoy the little things.

Do you have any favorite hacks for saving time?

I think of myself as a very productive person, so I don’t waste much time. I go from one thing to the next. I move through emails as soon as I get them. When it comes to the kids, I’m big on routines and systems. Their clothes are laid out the night before, so they’re ready to roll. They know exactly what their responsibilities are. But we’re only lightly controlled chaos at our house, so it certainly isn’t perfection. I ask for help a lot. My dad and my sister and my husband’s brothers and sisters have come to our rescue many, many times.

Do you ever find time for yourself?

I try to. I get up some days at 4:30 and get a little workout in, and that can be life-changing for me if I can get myself out of bed. But the truth is I look forward to going home and seeing my husband every day. It sounds very corny. We’ve been together over 20 years, but I literally am so excited to just go home and hang out with him. That, for me, is a big recharge.

What are your favorite things to do as a family?

We are a very sporty family. My son’s in basketball and baseball. My daughter’s in gymnastics and baseball. My husband and I like to be outside doing things. We spend a lot of time in our yard, playing on the trampoline, sitting outside and enjoying the weather, going on walks. But, right now, we’re going to a lot of baseball and travel basketball games. That’s fun for us. And, when we can, I believe taking a vacation together is very important — having that real break from work and being able to have that really consolidated time with the family.

What do you want your kids to remember when they look back on this phase of life?

I really, genuinely hope they’re proud. Proud of me, proud of our family. Just proud of some of the choices we’ve collectively made. That’s really important to me. I also really want them to feel like I was there for the important things. And flat-out most importantly, I just want them to feel loved — period, end of story, unequivocally loved. If we can accomplish those three things, I’d feel pretty good.