Power isn’t merely a thing to be grasped – it’s a tool to be shared. When given influence and connections, you have a duty and privilege to help others achieve the same. And you may find that you get back what you give! Marco Lindsey is a man who worked his way into having influence in his community, and he never stops giving. You’re sure to be inspired by his story, and you’ll learn how to look at your own privileges to find how you can give back, too.

Growing Up In The Bay Area

Marco Lindsey knows a lot about community and loyalty. His hometown of Oakland is where he was born and where he plans to stay. Lindsey is very involved in his area and is thankful for the family he has there to hold him accountable.

A little background for you- his grandmother became a widow and used the insurance money to purchase the biggest house she could find in her neighborhood. She needed the space, as she had 13 children, one of whom was Marco’s mother. But the Ku Klux Klan didn’t take kindly to her presence, and within one week the house was burned to the ground. So she packed up her family and took off to the Bay Area.

That’s how Lindsey came to be born in Oakland, and he never left. His grandmother’s brother also brought his wife and 19 children, so he’s got a big family and a big reason to stay in the Bay Area. Family is what got him to where he is today. When his father died, he went a little off the rails and got into some trouble, as many young people do. But his brother-in-law pulled him aside one day and encouraged him to get an education.

The advice given by his brother-in-law was essentially this: If you want to be a knucklehead, you can be a knucklehead. But with an education, you have an option not to be a knucklehead… and be so many other things.

Life As A Student Always

So, with that, he was off to the races. He became a student at the Berkeley-Haas Center for Executive Education, and it was an upward journey from there. Not before too long, he became Chief of Staff for the Dean at the school. He soon realized that even though he wasn’t working directly with students, he could still make a big impact on their lives.

He took extra time to seek out black students because he could see that they weren’t always treated with equity. After noticing this issue and deciding it was worth pursuing, he took the time to be with these students. He would network young black men with women with opportunities, communities, and businesses. When he saw an event that could help them or a person who could enhance their career, he made sure these students had nothing stopping them from getting involved and connected.

When Lindsey moved into the role of Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, he had even more resources to help black and other underrepresented students. And not only that, he has used his time and networking capacity to help years of alumni feel more connected and included with the current students of color.

100 Black Men of the Bay Area

But Lindsey’s commitment to his community doesn’t stop there. He’s an active board member of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area. This is a group dedicated to giving real, effective time to other people of color. Their goal is also to set an example for young black people of possibility and success. Their favorite line is: “What they see is what they’ll be.” When you have an example to aspire to, especially of someone with the same background as you, you’re much more likely to make it.

When you’ve got big goals for your community and want to make an impact, you have to have guiding principles moving you forward. This sort of dedication to the community can only come from a place of genuine care and strongly held beliefs. Marco Lindsey has three significant ones, and they drive his every move.

Marco’s Three Defining Leadership Principles

Principle 1

Live your life as if you were 80 years old. Lindsey believes that if you look at your time as more limited, you’ll be more effective today. You’ll analyze every moment and use every resource and second that you have available. If you’re closer to the end of your life, you’re less likely to waste your time and resources. If you live today as if that were true, you’ll see a big change in your overall demeanor.

Principle 2

Lindsey helps other people become successful, and so he naturally became successful. If someone asks for help finding a job or a connection, or just getting solid advice, always say yes. When you help others grow, you’ll naturally find yourself in a community of other successful people. So next time someone reaches out, or if you see an area where you have something to give, take the opportunity. Lindsey lives this out every day with his job and with the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area.

Principle 3

You are someone’s ancestor. Lindsey is curating a legacy. He knows that his actions today impact the future, and he wants to benefit his future predecessors in any way possible. So being involved and building success now can leave something for his future family to build upon. You can do the same by considering the tone of your family and teaching the strength and principles that you want to be carried on through the generations.

What Marco Lindsey Teaches Us

These principles guide Lindsey, and the current state of events is no different. He uses what he believes to guide him during all of the racial unrest happening today. When we hear about events going on against black people by the police, Lindsey isn’t surprised. He’s been seeing it his whole life and has lived with the knowledge that it could happen to him.

Supporting the Black Community

Being passive isn’t an option. But because of his fierce drive and determination, and his desire to make a better future for his predecessors, he doesn’t just post on the internet or pick random causes to support. He just lives his life in full support of the black community and believes everyone else should as well. It’s a war, and every role in war is important, from a frontline soldier to an administrator and to every person in between.

Essentially, Lindsey’s desire is for people to find their niche. If your role is organizing or attending rallies, then do that with pride and strength. If you’re able to make sure that black businesses are supported, that is important as well. The key is to look around in your own life and see where you are able to help. That’s what Marco Lindsey has been doing for his whole life.

During this time, Lindsey and his community of 100 Black Men are working on some great things with police reform, and they’re also continuing their mission of supporting their local black community. They hold hiring fairs and constantly get resumes of people of color into the hands of businesses. Making sure no black person is overlooked for a job or a role is a big part of their mission.

Be An Ally

Allyship is key, and Lindsey knows the importance of using your influence and your connections to benefit others. He has done so from the beginning in his role at Haas, and nothing could be more valuable now. We need more people like Marco.

Ultimately, Lindsey is a man who worked hard for his privileges. His resilience, effort, and capacity to give is inspirational. Don’t let your privileges stop you from becoming an ally- use what tools you have to lend a hand to someone else. Marco gives back from his place of influence, and you can too, no matter what area of life that might be.

Parting Words

If you want to learn more about anti-blackness and Marco’s story, listen to this podcast. Think of all the areas of your life in which you have influence or privilege. How can you turn that into a gift for others?

Leave a comment below to let us know how Lindsey has inspired you to help others. Did you have people in your life who helped you get to where you are today? Let us know how their example and shared influence changed your life.

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