We are excited to feature one of our FIF community coaches, Lyndsay Toensing. Her background is richly diverse, and her journey into transformational leadership coaching is inspiring. In this short Q&A interview, Lyndsay shares her story of awakening, and reminds us to show up passionately and authentically.
Q. Let’s start from the beginning. Where did you grow up? What/who inspired you to have a career in leadership?
A. I grew up in Hermantown, MN. This was back when it was a small town that no one really knew about the town or the hockey team. We raised chickens, geese, ducks, turkey, and I had guinea pigs and a rabbit. We hauled wood for the wood burning stove to keep the house warm in the winter. We grew our own fruits and vegetables in the summer and canned them for the winter. I spent a lot of time running around the woods by myself. It was my favorite place to be. I was very creative. I wrote stories, songs, and poems. I read a lot. In middle school, we got a video camera and I started writing and directing movies. Even though it was the 80s and 90s, it sometimes reminds me of the frontier days when I look back. I don’t know that I had the most traditional childhood. Ha!
What inspired me into leadership was two-fold. First, I saw it being done in a way that wasn’t working for the people nor the company. I knew there was a better way and I wanted to figure that out. Second, when I started leading people and got to help them grow and evolve, that was everything for me. I love helping people develop and reach their goals, even if those goals weren’t with my team or my company. Which is why I now do transformational leadership coaching. I get to help people make their dreams come true.
Q. Can you share what your career journey has entailed? What was your first big break and what are you doing today?
A. My career journey has been interesting. I actually went to Radio Broadcasting school while I was working as the office manager at a carpet cleaning company. All the gigs were overnights or in small towns, so I decided to get my Bachelor degree in Organizational Leadership Development and Communications. In 2004, one of my cleaners had a friend who owned a med-aesthetics company and was looking for a marketing specialist, and the cleaner recommended me for the role. I interviewed and got the job. That was my first marketing job and really changed the direction of my career.
After nearly five years there, I went to a medical device start-up where I led the marketing communications and events team. After nearly four years there, I went to a pharmacy benefit management company where I led the B2C marketing strategy and account management team. I decided in that role that I wanted to get my MBA so I could move out of marketing and into business strategy.
My next big break was in 2016. I was still at the pharmacy benefit management company while earning my MBA at Carlson (University of MN). On-campus recruiting said I was too experienced to participate in on-campus recruiting events but that I could put my resume in the graduating class book. So, I did and forgot about it. In March of 2016 I got an email from a recruiter at Amazon asking if I’d be interested in a full-time role in Seattle. A few months later, I had sold my house and moved across the country.
In 2018 I went through a spiritual awakening and realized that the life I had created was based on the fear that I was going to lose everything at any moment, and I needed to keep hustling to stay safe. It took a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll on me. After a lot of self-discovery, I left corporate in August of 2019 to go into coaching full-time.
Today, I’m a transformational leadership coach, helping high-achieving professionals on their transformational journeys create an authentic and inspired life as unique as they are through transformational coaching, strategy, energy healing, intuition, and aligned action.
Q. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
A. I am most proud of listening to my gut and my intuition. It may sound strange, because I have accomplished a lot of things in my life. But learning to listen to my own inner guidance instead of following what all the external voices have told me (which I did for many, many years) has helped me create a life more aligned with what lights me up every day. Yes, there are still doubts and limiting beliefs that come up because our spiritual growth is a life-long journey. I’ve learned to go within and get quiet for clarity when that happens instead of reaching for external words of wisdom that usually lead to the same old societal standards.
Q. As a transformational leadership coach, what are your areas of expertise for Females in Food members to connect with you on?
A. My sweet spot is helping the high achievers navigate life after spiritual awakening. These are the people who did everything “right” on paper and are now waking up to the realization that they are just trying to survive their days instead of being excited for what the day will bring. I lived this life myself, and that is why I am so passionate about helping other high achievers through their un-becoming process to create their version of an authentic and inspired life. I believe we have the conscious choice to life of joy and fulfillment. I empower those that are ready to make that choice.
Q. What do you enjoy doing most in your free time?
A. I love traveling to new places around the world. My last exploration was to India in February 2020. I came back just before the lockdown started. I also love live music, theater…the arts in general. Obviously, we’ve all had a lack of that with the pandemic. Above all, I love learning. I read a lot. I take a lot of workshops and classes, mostly within spirituality. I’m constantly learning new tools to support myself and my clients. I believe in walking my talk, so I’ve personally done anything that I ask my clients to do.
Q. What advice would you give your younger self? Or What advice do you have for those who are just coming into the food industry?
A. To my younger self, please learn how to connect with your emotions and your body as they will help you navigate life in powerful ways if you learn how to interpret their messages.
To those that are coming into the food industry, get clear on your top 5 values (eg. integrity, authenticity, fun, compassion, respect, joy, growth, connection, community, etc.) and reference them often to make sure you are making professional and personal decisions aligned with your values. They will serve you well.