How She Works: Lindsey Pollak, Millennial Workplace Expert


Lindsey Pollak knows a thing or two about following your passions. She loved mentoring students so much, she’s made it her career. Now she’s a best-selling author, a national ambassador for LinkedIn and works with major corporations to help employers understand and work with the Millennial generation.

Her new book, Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders, launched in August and just made the New York Times bestseller list.. We chatted with Lindsey about her entrepreneurial journey, her inspirations and her practical advice for other high-achieving women who are wanting to live out their dreams.

Tell us about your journey into business and who your business serves?

I was an RA (resident advisor) in college and have been interested in understanding and mentoring the next generation ever since. Now I am a consultant, speaker and author with expertise in the training, recruiting and retention of the Millennial workforce. I am the author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World and the forthcoming Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. My business serves corporations, universities and conferences seeking an expert on the Millennial generation.

What’s one piece of advice you received that’s helped you get to the point where you are now?

My grandfather used to say, “You have two ears and one mouth: use them accordingly.” I try my best to be a good listener, researcher and reader and to listen more than I talk (which is challenging for a professional speaker!).

You have accomplished really big things such as becoming a National Spokesperson for LinkedIn. How did you find the confidence to go for such a big goal?

For me, confidence comes from always doing my homework and overpreparing as much as I can. Before my first conversation with LinkedIn, I studied the company from top to bottom and had a plan of what I wanted to offer them as a consultant. People also ask how I have the confidence to be a public speaker and the honest answer is years and years and years of practice.

Tell us in detail, what are three action steps can others take achieve a big goal or project?

  1. Talk to other people who have done something similar to what you want to achieve. Become a student of successful people in your field (read their blogs, follow them on Twitter and ask them out for coffee). This will save you from reinventing the wheel or making the same mistakes others have made before you.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people—it takes a village to achieve your greatest goals. I’m so fortunate that my parents have always encouraged me to achieve my biggest goals and I have great friends and a wonderful husband who genuinely support me day in, day out. I also love to read books, blogs and articles on productivity, success and other topics that keep me inspired for the long haul.
  3. Continually build your skills. If you want to achieve big things, you have to be really good at what you do. Confidence and supportive friends are meaningless unless you really commit to being truly excellent at your chosen field or endeavor, whatever it may be.

You have created a national brand for yourself. Knowing what you know now, what practical steps would you advise others to take to build their personal brands quickly and effectively?

As mentioned above, I recommend studying people you admire and learning from their success. What do they blog about? What do they tweet about? What conferences are they attending? Then work hard every day to produce excellent results in your field. A national brand isn’t going to mean much unless you can really deliver on the reputation you’ve created.

What habits have you developed that have supported you in managing your business or life better?

Lots and lots of support. Over the 12+ years since I started my business, I have consulted business coaches, life coaches, therapists, speaking coaches, marketing experts, parenting experts, nutritionists, personal trainers, etc. I know that I don’t have all the answers and I’m always eager to consult someone who knows a lot more about a topic than I do.

The other major tactic I’ve learned (and still struggle with) is saying no. You simply cannot take on every opportunity, volunteer for every cause and attend every event. Saying no is so hard, but it’s an essential skill to achieve your goals and stay sane in the process.

What’s one thing you do for yourself to stay happy or re-energize?

We’re so excited about your new book. What can people expect gain from reading Becoming the Boss?

Thank you! Becoming the Boss is a book for young leaders who are in their first leadership roles or aspire to be in a leadership role soon. I talk a lot about the “classic” leadership and management advice that is still relevant today and combine that with the new skills and competencies that today’s leaders need, such as online branding, managing virtual employees and succeeding in the coming Millennial-led workplace.

What books have made a difference in your personal and professional growth? Feel free to share any key lessons or quotes.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do by Kate White, anything by Anne Lamott or Martha Beck

What a mantra or words do you live by?

Rapid Fire Round
Tell us in one sentence or less your response to the following ideas:

Happiness is… my daughter.
Wellness is… a daily commitment.
Money is… important to understand well.
Success is… defined differently for everyone.

Want to win a copy of Lindsey’s new book? Like us on Facebook by Friday, October 10 and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win!

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