Jorndt Jolts for Metro Apprentices

“Listen carefully to the values Mr. Jorndt mentions and reflect if they line up with lessons you have heard at Metro,” Christina Villa, the Metro College Orientation Program Director, encouraged as she introduced a special guest to a room full of forty-five summer apprentices at Metro Achievement Center.  The students gathered during the 5th week of their 6-week summer apprenticeship for a career talk from Dan Jorndt, retired chairman & CEO of Walgreens and long-time MEF supporter and fan.

Mr. Jorndt jumped right in with “jolts” of advice. “I know that at these talks you usually only remember one thing, maybe two, but never three. So I am going to share 4 or 5 concepts with you, and you can choose which one resonates with you.”

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Mr. Jorndt encourages the students to do the difficult things first on their list, acknowledging that while this may not be simple, most humans do the easy thing first and put off hard things for later. He cited a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that has inspired him to look fear in the face.


Whether at home, school or work, he urged the girls to go above and beyond in service and effort. If someone asks for “twelve”, go for the “bakers dozen” and give them thirteen!


Mr. Jorndt shared a simple secret to success, inspired by an anecdote from American investor and philanthropist Bernard Baruch. When asked how he became so successful, Baruch responded, “I do something hardly anyone does. I think really hard for five minutes every day.” He then shared stories from college and the workplace to emphasize the importance of telling the truth. If you make a mistake, admit it. Say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry, I’ll fix it.”


Albert Einstein said the most powerful force in the universe was compound interest. Mr. Jorndt walked the students through how much money they would have if they take $1,000 now, invest it in the stock market, and watch it double every 7 years. By the time they are 70, they will have $128,000. “Live below your means, and don’t underestimate the power of saving.”


It’s easy to be negative, but worth it to be an optimist. Negative people attract negativity. Positivity might move more slowly, but it is steady and works.

Mr. Jorndt closed out his remarks answering student questions. One asked how his wife has inspired him. He responded that they have always worked as team, practicing division of labor, taking turns leading and recognizing each other’s strengths. “Do you have any tips for networking?” a business apprentice asked. “If you want to have a friend, be a friend,” he offered, adding that when networking, one shouldn’t concentrate on their own needs, but rather concentrate on serving, helping and truly connecting people, and the benefits of networking will naturally flow.