Your Neighbor: Meet Linda McGalliard
Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 2021
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Linda McGalliard grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, as the oldest of three siblings. “Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden, and it was so fun as a kid because of the proximity to water. My entire childhood I embraced being outdoors with my friends, brother and sister. We would swim, ice skate, go boating, and even ride our bikes to take a ferry to go on a picnic and day trip. We were very free as children to explore,” recalls McGalliard.
McGalliard’s adventurous childhood prepared her for changing countries her senior year of high school. “Because of my parents’ career at Volvo Cars, we moved my senior year of high school to Greensboro, North Carolina. Before we settled in, my family visited New York City. I think my parents wanted to show us how fun and exciting the United States could be,” remembers McGalliard. It didn’t take much convincing for McGalliard to embrace her new home. “We were blown away by how nice everyone was to us immediately. I couldn’t get over how green everything was too,” laughs McGalliard.
As McGalliard completed her senior year in North Carolina, she pondered what her next step would be. “In Sweden, you don’t necessarily go to college after high school. Most times, Swedish kids will travel to explore the world and find themselves before deciding what they wanted to do long term. Hearing in the United States that most kids go to college, I decided that I would look into that option,” says McGalliard.
McGalliard decided to stay close to family and was accepted into the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G). “I really loved the campus, and of course being near my family was important to me,” explains McGalliard, who double majored in both international business and German. “It turned out to be a good decision to go to school at UNC-G personally because I met my future husband, Luke, during my first week in school,” reflects McGalliard. “We met through a mutual friend in the freshman parking lot. We went on our first date not too long after our initial introduction.”
After McGalliard graduated from UNC-G in 2004 with her double degree and speaking three languages, she moved back to Sweden. “I didn’t really have much of a choice because my family’s contract had ended. I was offered a job with Volvo Cars as soon as I moved back,” mentions McGalliard. “I did auto shows for them and got to travel. During that time, Luke and I still dated very seriously through long distance. We got engaged in 2005 and then married in 2006.”
Once married, Luke and Linda began their lives in Charlotte. “Charlotte was where Luke got his first job after college, and it made sense for me to move there to be with him. I began working at Belk as an assistant buyer. It was a fun season in our lives before having kids. For three years, we got to focus on each other and our careers before welcoming our oldest child, Elsa (12),” says McGalliard. “It was tough for me to go back to work. The maternity leave is much longer in Sweden, and I realized after 12 weeks that I wanted to stay home and be with her. Twenty months later, our daughter, Eva (10) was born.”
McGalliard realized while raising her two daughters without family around that she missed being near them. “Around 2012, Luke and I had a heart to heart about what we wanted to for our family. Luke knew that he was open to having a job change, my father was sick, and we felt that taking Elsa and Eva to Sweden would be the right move for us. We sold everything and took our family back to Gothenburg where we found a pretty incredible work life balance. I was able to work again, and Luke found a career path he enjoyed too,” reflects McGalliard.
For the next four years, the McGalliard family made Gothenburg home. “Around 2016, we found out we were pregnant with our son, Edvin (6) and decided that we really needed a change again. The weather wears on you in Sweden because the winter is dark and cold. Our kids were of the age that we did need to give them roots, wherever we thought that might be. We both had tremendously enjoyed North Carolina and decided to pack up and take our family back there,” explains McGalliard. “Since I was working for Volvo, I was able to be transferred to the Greensboro office. They took care of everything including setting up our apartment while we figured out where we were going to live. We knew we had done Greensboro so thought briefly about living in Winston-Salem where it was fun and artsy. However, with three kids we decided that living further out in the suburbs would be a better fit for our family. The minute we ended up in Clemmons we knew that was where we needed to be. We fell in love with our Clemmons West neighborhood immediately.”
“Raising three kids with all of their interests and activities is the busiest season of life that we have experienced,” says McGalliard. She has still managed to find time to go back to school to get her master of business administration degree. “With my company paying for my continued education, I figured no time like the present,” smiles McGalliard. “Between work, kids’ activities, and school we still make sure we travel to new places. My love for the ocean is still deep within me and we frequent the North Carolina coast as often as possible.”
Making memories is important to the McGalliard family. Also of equal importance, is sharing in the value of family while fostering children. “We have a big heart for foster care within our community. We have had two placements and lots of respite care where you host a foster child for a week or weekend. It helps expose the child to something different and also gives the primary foster family a break. Our families’ experience with fostering has been so rewarding,” explains McGalliard. “It’s something very near and dear to our hearts.”