Good Leaders: What twists and turns in life put you on your path today?

Lindsey Riley is a young leader at Medtronic, whose life has taken many twists and turns. Her life outside of work is focused on marriage and parenting.

Next Friday, August 17, 2018, is the Masters Alliance Young Leaders session of the Good Leadership Breakfast Series. Before back-to-school-time, we intend to honor and inspire young leaders to live their lives on the idea: Goodness Pays.

But rather than having the message come from a parent-figure, we’ve reached into the realm of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota to identify a young leader whose path today was shaped by a miraculous set of twists and turns. Here’s the story of our speaker, Lindsey Riley:

Lindsey grew up in a strong and stable household in Arizona, with her mother, father, and two brothers. Her passions were swimming, ballet dancing, and anything that involved quality time. “I was one of those kids who grew up with all of the love and support that’s possible,” she explained.  I always tried so hard to be the best at everything, including schooling, swimming, and ballet among others!”

Twisted into confusion and fear

We’re expecting a record number of guests this month: each ticket holder gets to bring a Young Leader for free to hear Lindsey Riley.

But, when a pesky cold at the age of 12 years old wouldn’t go away, her reality was twisted into a knot of fear by the diagnosis: Aplastic Anemia. Her golden-child body was no longer producing blood cells. What followed was an 12-month fight for her life – aided by a bone marrow transplant from one of her brothers!

Today, at 29 years old, she just celebrated her 19th “new birthday,” because the diagnosis that turned her life upside down is very difficult to beat.

“The Make-A-Wish people were so important to keeping my aspirations focused on healing, and to keeping my family focused on a wonderful trip to Disney World when I recovered,” she shared with gratitude.

A surprising turn

With her new lease on life, she set her professional aspirations on med school, and the personal mission to become a pediatric oncologist. “While studying pre-med at the University of Denver, I met my husband – and instead of going straight to med school, I got involved in business as we started our married life together.”

Lindsey has found purpose and satisfaction in her role as a mother, and product manager at Medtronic.

After a move to Minneapolis, she discovered her passion for how medical device research and development could affect the lives of people with cancer as well. I realized that as I pursued excellence in all aspects of my work, that more and more opportunities were put in front of me. And when I connected the work with a purpose of goodness, the work was more fun than I anticipated.”

So, today, she is the mother of two children and a fast-rising young leader at Medtronic.

“What I want to tell the young leaders is this: It’s best to just take your life one thing at a time. You don’t need to make the right 1000 decisions about your future. You just need to make a good decision about the next one. One decision at a time, it’s easier without getting too wrapped up in the long term. There’s goodness in that!” she smiled from experience.

Good leaders accept life’s twists and turns as part of a good life. And they make decisions one at a time, based on the idea that goodness pays.

Please share with me: What twists and turns in life put you on your path today?

Leave a Comment