New York City - Cultural Explorer
Imagine you’re talking to someone. They’re listening, kind of. They’re paying attention, but only as much as they need to. It’s clear their attention is split 50 different ways. Maybe you’re at an event; maybe there’s a lot going on around you. Either way, the person you’re talking to is only half present. Now, imagine that same situation, but imagine you’re talking to someone who makes you feel like you’re the only person that matters, like your conversation is more energizing than anything else, ever. That’s what talking to Lindsay is like; you feel treasured. Lindsay loves people. While in the entertainment industry, she helped actresses find calm in very complex situations. And most recently, at charity: water, a NY-based nonprofit, she lead Community Engagement, working to creatively enrich the already powerful community and culture of that organization. So when I got together with Lindsay to talk about her new project, fifty coffees, I wasn’t surprised to hear it’s centered around connecting with, listening to and learning from people. If there’s one thing to learn from Lindsay, it’s this: the more you give in life, the more you’ll get in return.
TSP: Can you please share a little bit about your past? Where you’ve been? What you’ve done?
LR: Geographically speaking, I'm a California Girl, living in Brooklyn. Born and raised in Huntington Beach, I spent a significant portion of my young years breathing in salty ocean air. Spent the college years in an even more awesome place, Santa Barbara, where I developed dreams of becoming an international humanitarian. Sometimes we take round about ways to reach our goals, and my scenic path was through the entertainment industry for 6 years. I was a personal assistant to high profile actresses (with a few odd jobs in-between) before being recruited by NY-based clean water organization, charity: water. I moved to New York with a broken heart, my camera, and a sense of adventure.
TSP: Moving across the country from LA to NYC? What was that like?
LR: I was ready for it. Everything leading up to me moving felt like the direction I was supposed to be moving in (housing, job, etc fell into place easily). So exciting; but, really tough in many ways, as well. I had such a big, supportive friend group in LA who were like my 20-something family. Leaving that crew felt hard. Once I arrived in NY, there was so much distraction, so much to learn and figure out. Where and how do I do laundry? How do I commute to work? The subway system? I didn't have the capacity to be sad or scared, because my brain was just trying to figure out how to get to work without blisters on my heels. Moving to New York felt like an opportunity to redefine myself in a lot of ways. I had no obligations outside of work and could spend my time exactly as I wanted to. That was freeing.
TSP: We could all probably use a move like that in our lives, in one stage or another. What are you up to now?
LR: I left my job at charity: water two months ago, after three great years with the organization. I'm in a period of connecting with myself and seeking what's next. I started a project documenting fifty informational interviews with friends and mentors to learn about various career & life path options. So, I'm living in a beautiful Brooklyn apartment, spending my days exactly like I want to; yoga classes, museums, and leisurely coffee dates with friends I never get enough time with. Nothing about the future is certain, but I am sure that taking this life break is contributing to it.
TSP: You just left your job? Wow.
LR: I know…
TSP: Can you tell us a little more about this project of yours, where you’re documenting fifty informational interviews?
LR: The idea was inspired by a conversation I had with my old co-worker, Paull Young. We were discussing the types of jobs he thought I'd be good at and who I should talk to. The idea to formalize the meeting with people and process their thoughts and direction was hatched after that conversation with Paull.
I've been surprised by how supportive and interested people have been of my journey. I feel like I have a team of people behind me who want to see me succeed. I've also been surprised by the depth of the coffees conversations. I've cried on multiple occasions, and learned things about dear friends that we just never covered over years of close friendship.
Yes to more coffees more often! In-person connection is so under-rated, and it's very easy for us to get stuck behind our computer screens most of our days. But in-person contact adds an element of emotion and the potential to connect on a completely different level than via email or the phone.
TSP: Where do you hope to go next?
LR: Financial stability, freedom, personal time, travel adventures, experiment more, be surrounded by creators. I want these things, interwoven together in some way. My meager savings will allow me to work on the fifty coffees full-time for another month; then this little piggie needs a paying gig. My work life and life-life have always blended into one. I like this model. Next, I'd like to work with value driven individuals, on people-centric projects, creating something new. In this moment, I'm really enjoying the freedom of creating fifty coffees, the challenge of writing, and the inspired responses I'm seeing from people about the content. I'd love to find a way to monetize the story-telling site, so I can keep telling people's stories.
TSP: What is it about telling people’s stories that really moves you?
LR: Great question. People are fascinating, and every individual is hugely unique, based on millions of tiny personal experiences that make up the whole. I like learning and hearing perspectives that are different from my own. I tend to focus on the positive aspects of a person and love finding and spreading joy.
TSP: How do you plan to get there?
LR: Stay connected to the moments that make me happy and feel alive. With the help of friends, reach out to coffee companies who might be interested in hyper-local marketing content (a la AMEX Passion Project or the Scion Motivate campaign). Continue to meet with people; be open and ready to grab the right opportunity when it comes along.