21 Career Questions with Lindsey Kittredge - Co-Founder + Exec. Dir. / Shooting Touch
Lindsey Cronin Kittredge is definitely "leaning in".
After ten years in PR + real estate marketing, she co-founded Shooting Touch- a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of basketball to elevate the health, education and opportunities of youths and young adults around the world. In Boston, Shooting Touch has established a year-round presence and program that provides inner city and suburban youth with opportunities for development, both on and off the court. Internationally, The Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, aka "The Basketball Peace Corps", provides the opportunity for gifted college graduates to work in Africa, dedicating an entire year of service to using basketball as a catalyst for good.
Lindsey is also a mother of two young daughters, and wife to a friend and former colleague, Justin Kittredge. (Justin is the founder of iSlide, a custom slide sandal startup. More about him in a future post...)
1. What would the headline of your biography be?
“Striving To Be Extraordinary”
2. What is your mission / goal in life?
To be an extraordinary mother, wife, daughter, sister, career woman and friend…in a jumbled, ever changing order.
3. What do you love to do?
4. What were your “aha” moments - when you realized you were exceptional at something?
I would never be comfortable saying that I am exceptional at anything because to me the word “exceptional” leaves little room for improvement and you can always improve at… everything.
So, I would say I realized I was “quite strong” when each year I look around a room of 250+ people including sports celebrities, respected business leaders, members of the press, friends, family and people I have never met…all attending an event and supporting a global cause my husband and I dreamt up and run. The “if you build it, they will come” voice rings true every year. I would say I feel quite strong when our Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program Grantees return from their overseas, yearlong work program and hug me and say, “Thank you, you changed my life”. That feels good.
I would say I feel quite strong as a mother each time our kids burst into hysterical giggle fits or wear their Halloween costume for 2 weeks straight.
5. What keeps you up at night?
Worrying, mostly about our kids, health of my family, our work and things typically I cannot control.
6. What historical / business figure do you most identify with?
I identify with every working mom in the universe striving to balance it all. They are historical.
7. What is the trait you most want to improve in yourself?
Stop worrying and to always see the positive.
8. What are your unique talents?
I can express myself and communicate to other people well. I can listen well. I can plan and run a strong event giving people a unique experience. I can dig down deep and get a task done, when resources and dollars are sparse. I can make people feel like they are a part of something greater, something important. I can learn fast. I can empower people. I can fundraise and always find ways to bring money for important causes through the door.
I also have heart shaped nostrils, take pictures or paintings off the walls and lay them on the floor in my sleep and I can swim under water holding my breath for a long time.
9. Have you had to change your career path?
After the birth of our first baby, I (like most new moms) became acutely aware of what is important in life.
I had worked for 10 years in the real estate industry doing public relations, marketing and sales. Although I loved the people I worked with, I could never really wrap my brain around the larger purpose of my work and the impact I was making. Consequently, I do not think I dug down deep enough and became extraordinary at what I did. I needed to shift my priorities and figure out how I could channel my skill set to help others and find that larger purpose.
I have always been an athlete and enjoyed sports my entire life. I played three sports in high school, competitively swam my entire childhood, played D1 lacrosse in college and then after I fell in love with running, marathons and all that comes with it. I knew I needed sports in my life. So when I had the opportunity to shift my work away from real estate, I knew that working to help others through the platform of sport, was a homerun (pun intended).
I decided it was time to make a shift. I chose to focus on the little basketball organization that my husband organically started and with that Shooting Touch, Inc. was also born. I took all that I had learned in the marketing world, put my head down and grew a little, local basketball program to become a global NGO, helping positively impact and educate thousands of youths around the world each year.
As I move into an Executive Director/Board position role, I now have a year round team in place to execute our mission of Shooting Touch. It is very rewarding to see a model that you have built be run by other people. Now that each career stepping stone is laid down, it is so exciting to see where I plant my feet next. I’m ready to make my next move.
10. Which brands / businesses do you admire the most?
I admire Tory Burch and her clean, simply defined brand and empire. I admire Lilly Pulitzer for making females happy with her clothes. I admire the Vineyard Vines brothers for celebrating and easily identifying a lifestyle brand.
I admire Blake Mycoskie for his TOMS shoe model and John and Bert Jacobs for their Life is Good brand. All men---both brands---positively impact millions of children’s lives each year, see true life outside the consumer product world and make a real investment in doing something that matters.
I admire the broken ceilings of Sara Blakely, Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Oprah, Tina Fey, and countless of others.
I admire good nurses and doctors for often being earth angels to families in need.
I admire the true grit of other people growing nonprofit organizations near and far because it is hard as hell.
11. What was your career plan when you were young(er)?
I wanted to do pediatric physical therapy.
12. What is your greatest career regret?
I wish I narrowed in on a very specific major in college that was recession proof and flexible to execute as a mother.
13. What was your favorite job?
Being a nanny on Nantucket with my best friend as a sophomore in college. Two nannies, two kids, one house.
14. Which talent would you most like to have?
To heal people.
15. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Our two healthy, happy little girls. (Close second – Running a business with my best friend, my husband, and having our program grantees say to us every year that we single handedly “Changed Their Lives”. Never gets old).
16. How do you define success?
17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Sick family members.
18. Do you care about money?
Why yes, yes I do.
19. What is your defining characteristic?
Hopefully, persistence and determination.
20. Who are your favorite business writers / bloggers / people?
Pretty much everyone associated in Entrepreneur Magazine…and Max Ehrmann, author of "Desiderata".
21. Who is your hero in real life?
Lacey and Bob Cronin.
Anything else you want to add?