Poet and novelist Oscar Wilde once stated, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” There is a certain vitality I have noticed in the leaders I have interviewed. They embrace life and are purposeful in their actions. They seek to add value and subscribe to the old Scandinavian tradition “to leave the woodpile higher than you found it.” These kinds of leaders are not takers, but are givers. Karen Lindsey-Lloyd is one of those leaders. She is the associate vice president for student success and career services at Mississippi College and owns K2L Consulting, which provides business talent attraction and reputation management services to large organizations around the country.
Lindsey-Lloyd is originally from Milwaukee, Wis., and has lived and worked in Chicago; Huntsville, Ala.; Weisbaden, Germany; and, Washington, DC. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in applied communication from Mississippi College, and she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Azusa Pacific University in California. She began her career at the Chicago Tribune and has worked as a talk radio morning show co-host, media image consultant and speechwriter to corporate executives. Lindsey-Lloyd’s experience also includes working as a project manager for the U.S. Army Distance Learning Program, and serving as director of field development/corporate communications for the corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 company Northwestern Mutual.
In 2007, Lindsey-Lloyd’s husband’s career brought them to Mississippi, and she joined the faculty and administration at Mississippi College. In this role, she invests herself in helping students succeed in school and life. She is passionate about helping them develop their personal brands and prepare for the real world. Lindsey-Lloyd is a frequent trainer and keynote speaker sharing on topics including the 3Cs of good leaders. She shared, “I believe that effective leaders have compassion, courage and consistency.” Lindsey-Lloyd knows that leaders can’t “be all things to all people.” She emphasized that, “Life requires choices everyday and sometimes you will have to say no to good things.” Picking up on the 3Cs idea, I would also describe her as someone who is passionate about 3Fs – faith, fitness and fun. She is a strong person of faith, and encourages others to exercise and laugh often. She practices what she preaches and is an active marathoner and group fitness instructor in her spare time. On Oct. 7th she completed the 26.2 miles of the Chicago Marathon to raise awareness for multiple myleoma as rare cancer from which her brother-in-law has been fighting the past seven years.
For future leaders, Lindsey-Lloyd teaches that, “Your title does not make you a leader.” She also encourages people to “seek to serve before being served.” She recognizes that we all have opportunities to serve regardless of our position in the organization. Lindsey-Lloyd says, “You can lead from above, below or alongside.” All it takes is the attitude and heart of leader to make a difference. Lindsey-Lloyd credits many influential leaders in her career who took time to invest in her. She shared, “My first personal mentor was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who taught me the importance of leading by caring about people, standing alone when necessary and going above and beyond in any task assigned.” She also acknowledged one of her former bosses who believed in her potential early on yet he challenged her with tough assignments, corrected her when she made mistakes and gave her honest advice on how to navigate corporate America.
Lindsey-Lloyd’s energy and passion for life are contagious, and she is certainly leaving the woodpile higher for the students and businesses she works with. Each of us has the ability to be intentional about being “value add” with our lives, and to invest ourselves in making a difference in our sphere of influence.
Up Close With Karen Lindsey-Lloyd
Title: Associate vice president for student success and career services, Mississippi College
Favorite Books: The Bible, Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith, Master Leaders by George Barna and Good to Great by Jim Collins
First Job: “My first job was promoting Pepsi soft drink products at the Wisconsin State Fair. I was the Pepsi Challenge girl ”
Proudest Moment as a Leader: “Seeing former employees step into roles of leadership, and being part of the lives of students as they discover, mature and grow while seeking their life’s calling, purpose and passions.”