Why She’s Amazing
Amy Lindner doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.
As the first college graduate in her family, Amy also went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Notre Dame Law School. From there, she worked for two prestigious law firms in the Milwaukee area.
In 2012, Amy transitioned into a new role as CEO and President of Meta House, Inc., a non-profit organization that ends the generational cycle of addiction by healing women and strengthening families. Under her leadership, Meta House has experienced significant growth and has elevated the importance of discussions about addiction.
Amy has received many honors for her contributions, including a 2013 Women in the Law Award, a 2014 Community Leader Award and a 2015 “40 Under 40” Award.
We had a chance to ask Amy a few questions. Read on, and we think you’ll agree that this modern day trailblazer’s perspective inspires a greater sense of responsibility.
“I’d love for everyone to acknowledge that success is a mixture of hard work and luck.” – Amy Lindner
Q & A
Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
A: I always said lawyer. No one in my family at that time had ever gone to college, but nonetheless the only responses I ever got was some form of “of course you are” or “you’ll be great.”
Q: Did people call you “princess” when you were a little girl and, if so, how did that make you feel?
A: No, that wasn’t really the vibe in my family. My uncle was in a rock band, and when I told him I wanted to join his band, he said I’d need a stage name, and he christened me “Amy Lee Jones.” In my young head, that sounded tough in a good way—that’s who I wanted to be.
Q: How did you become interested in becoming an attorney and then running a non-profit focused on helping women?
A: I latched onto “lawyer” as a kid because it was one of the few jobs I knew where you could “be rich.” Watching everyone I knew stretch every penny to the next paycheck looked really hard, and I knew I didn’t want that for myself as a grown-up. It’s a lucky accident that I love being an attorney. I never set out to run a nonprofit. But when the opportunity presented itself, I was passionate about the chance to bring my strengths to this nonprofit that was already changing lives for the better. I had tremendous respect for the agency. I knew they were facing some challenges and was excited to help them meet those challenges head on. And I loved the idea of helping other women who are trying to lift their families to a happier and safer place.
Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?
A: Yes. Hundreds of them, both fictional and real. From the time I can first remember, I saw that all the women around me read for pleasure, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would do the same. That early literacy helped me do well in school in early years; and doing well in school helped make me like school, which, in turn, helped me keep doing well in school. It was a beautiful virtuous circle that I wish for every kid.
Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?
A: 100% yes. My family has always told me how proud they are of me. As for friends, I make it a purposeful goal to spend as much time as I can with positive, optimistic people. That doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge real problems or obstacles, but that our resting state is a belief that we can improve things. The joy and energy I gain from people like these add high octane fuel to my goals and ambitions.
Q: Did you think about being called a “trailblazer” for choosing this path?
A: No. A lot of work remains to bring full equality to women and many others, but I’ve seen that the women ahead of me had a tougher and lonelier journey than I’ve had. I hold a lot of love for them for that.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Michelle Obama once said in a speech that if you are lucky enough to succeed, you don’t close the door behind you. Instead, you reach back and help the next person through. I love that image because I know in my bones that whatever success I’ve had was made possible because so many people invested in me. I find it both a responsibility and a privilege to try to do the same for others.
Q: Of what are you most proud?
A: My mom. When my brothers were born, she had three of us, no high school diploma, and shortly thereafter, no partner helping with the bills. It sometimes took two or three jobs (and lots of help from family), but she kept us fed, clothed and sheltered. It wasn’t perfect, but she got it done and I love her for it.
Q: What would you like people to learn from you?
A: I’d love for everyone to acknowledge that success is a mixture of hard work and luck. It doesn’t subtract at all from the tens of thousands of hours of striving to acknowledge that I have had some very lucky breaks. Simultaneously, those lucky breaks would have been worth very little if I hadn’t done the work to be able to capitalize on them.
Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?
A: Smart. Ambitious. Kind.
Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your professional accomplishments?
A: I’m a work in progress—like everyone. Hard work comes pretty naturally to me, but I’m still working on being silly and reveling in joy.
Q: Who do you follow on social media that shares your passion for the law and helping others?
A: Jennifer Bartolotta, Deanna Singh, Tami Garrison, Ken Blanchard and Dan Pallotta, among others.
Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, whom would it be?
A: My mom’s maternal grandmother, who died long before I was born. She lost her sight early to diabetes, and my mom tells stories where you can hear all of the love that my great-grandmother poured into my mom.
Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?
A: I dislike that this question was written in the singular. Just one? Harriet Tubman. But why limit our ambitions to just one?
Q: What advice would you give to a girl who right now wants to be just like you?
A: Don’t try to be just like me. Just try to be the best you.
Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?
A: What do you love about ambitious women?
- The last book Amy read was The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.
- In her imagination, her go-to karaoke song is “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.
- Amy is usually early, very early.
- Her favorite quote is “To the whole world, you’re just one person. But to one person, you could be the whole world.”
- She’s currently binge watching The Dick Van Dyke Show.