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2021 30 Under 35 Profile: Lindsey Cernik

Lindsey Cernik, 30
Organizational Development Consultant
Border States Electric

Lindsey began her career at Border States in early 2018 as a learning and development specialist and was promoted to her current position, organizational development consultant, in 2020.

“In my current role I lead the initiative around our leadership’s development,” she explained. “From starting a new 12-month supervisor training program to starting a companywide mentoring program to partnering with specific departments and branches to focus on change management, I have the amazing opportunity to help our employee-owners grow.” Lindsey added that she is aIso highly involved in the company’s engagement surveys. “These give us great insight to the company—including development needs,” she explained.

“I would say I’m definitely in the right seat, on the right bus, when it comes to my current role,” Lindsey offered. Prior to starting at Border States, she was teaching and advising at the University of North Dakota—her first full-time job after graduating from North Dakota State University with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

“It might sound goofy, but North Dakota’s winters played a big role in me ending up at Border States,” she explained. “While working at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., there were 76 miles between my house and office. And while I so appreciated that drive for many reasons, I didn’t love it in the winter. After nearly three years of the commute, I started looking for employment opportunities closer to home.”

Knowing she wanted something that allowed her to invest in others, Lindsey interviewed at Border States and immediately fell in love with the opportunities the position and company offered. “The learning and development specialist role allowed me to invest in others in a way I hadn’t done before within an industry I knew nothing about,” she explained. “Beyond that, I had researched Border States and heard about their employee-owner culture, including the value of the ESOP. The challenge of entering a new industry with a company that seemed to value its employee-owners so highly led me to decline other offers at local universities. I wanted, and was ready for, a challenge.”

Since joining the industry, Lindsey said she has come to appreciate that while there’s constant change in more than a handful of aspects, the focus on developing and being agile remains high. “Professionals in this industry understand the value of investing in their teams and themselves—they recognize people are the greatest asset to the industry,” she explained. “Those investments look different depending on the person, and I enjoy remaining agile so that I can meet those changing needs and develop our employee-owners to the best of my ability.

Asked about a problem the industry is currently facing, Lindsey pointed to talent development. “As the industry works to best support customers and vendors, that takes educated and engaged employees,” she said. “My lens continually searches for ways to support the growth of our employee-owners across our footprint. I am excited to be launching a companywide emerging leader program soon, in addition to more programming around our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, which was a request on our previous engagement survey. Any opportunity to support their development needs and goals—I’m there!”

Looking ahead, “I would love to continue to grow my consulting portfolio,” said Lindsey. “I’m working with a handful of teams at the moment to strategize around their culture and I hope to continue supporting the company in that respect. Of course, I also want to make sure the initiatives I’ve created around leadership development stay relevant to the industry and our employee-owner needs. How can I make sure everything is in alignment? Again, that’s where reading, attending conferences, listening to podcasts, and connecting with other professionals is so valuable to me. At some point, I would like to explore my interest in executive coaching, but for now, I’m all about being intentional in my time and focus on where I’m at.”

What would Lindsey tell someone just entering the industry? “My favorite quote comes from author Wayne Dyer: ‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” she responded. “It can be so comfortable when facing new situations to stick to what you know. I would like to challenge that tendency and instead, ask someone leaning into something new to stay open: open to new perspectives, open to new experiences, open to change. Admitting you don’t know it all, asking for help and gaining new perspective will make any barrier you face that much easier to overcome.”

Outside of work, Lindsey said she can probably be found reading something related to work. “I’m obsessed with learning as much as I can about organizational development,” she admitted. “Beyond being an avid reader, I love to spend time outdoors. The Sheyenne River runs through our backyard, so my husband and I often kayak and fish (sometimes at the same time!). We also enjoy spending time playing and cuddling with our Police K9, Uno, and our cat. Lastly, I think it’s very important to be an active member of the community, so I am involved with numerous local organizations either on their committee or through giving presentations.”


Each year tED magazine recognizes 30 of the industry’s best and brightest under the age of 35. Please visit tedmag.com/30Under35 for nomination information and updates about the 2021 program. Questions can be sent to tED Editor Misty Byers at mbyers@naed.org.

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