As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Goodchild.
Lindsey Goodchild is the co-founder and CEO of Nudge, a communication platform that empowers deskless workers and drives better business outcomes. Fueled by behavioral science, Nudge helps brands mobilize their workforce to exceed sales goals, transform the customer experience, and increase employee engagement. Prior to Nudge, Lindsey was a consultant working on large-scale change management and customer experience programs in hospitality. Outside of Nudge, Lindsey is passionate about travel adventures, book clubs, and the environment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Being an entrepreneur or CEO was never something that crossed my mind as I considered career paths. I followed my passions and where life took me, continually pursuing things that were both interesting and challenging. I started out working in sustainability, getting involved with nonprofits, then discovered the corporate responsibility industry. I started working in boutique consulting and had the chance to work with big hospitality brands and noticed that when we created these big strategies for the business, the most important piece of implementation was the frontline employees, who were also the hardest people to reach and communicate with.
Brainstorming with my clients on how to communicate and truly engage with these employees who didn’t have an email address or any form of corporate communication, I mentioned how helpful an app could be. That client then gave me the leeway to figure out how to create that app.
Almost a decade later, Nudge is an app that connects frontline employees to their peers and corporate offices. We provide a communications platform that mobilizes employees and empowers them to reach their full potential. We get to work with the world’s leading brands to streamline communication and empower their workforce to increase sales, boost engagement, and improve the customer experience.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
When we were a very young business, someone told us we should participate in a business competition. After a lot of hard work, we ended up on stage pitching to chief innovation officers from some of the biggest companies in the world. One of them was very impressed with our pitch and started working with us. Years later, that same company is now a multimillion-dollar client.
You never know what crazy opportunities or relationships are going to bring you. Nurturing those relationships has been instrumental in Nudge’s success as a company.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In the early days, we were trying to decide whether to go into a startup accelerator program. We applied to a few and got a handful of interviews. At one particular interview, I found myself in a boardroom with four really talented entrepreneurs. I went to take in my first big breath to start the pitch and a bug flew right into my throat and I started to choke. I had to take a minute and ask to use the bathroom. I had to find the bathroom and struggle to get a sip of water and compose myself. Back in the room, I struggled through the pitch, flustered, still coughing and choking. What I really needed to do at that moment was pause and ask for a glass of water and I would have been fine.
That situation resonates to this day. It’s OK to ask for what you need. If you need a minute, take a minute, and at the end of the day, be sure to laugh at those ridiculous moments along the way.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What’s really special is the impact we create for our customers and the frontline employees who use the Nudge software every day. We are truly transforming the deskless workforce experience, ensuring every employee feels confident in their role and has clarity around what the goals and expectations are.
COVID-19 has given us more visibility into the reality of the frontline employee experience as they are returning to work. We heard them saying they were scared, or unsure of how to best show up to work for themselves and their customers; we are very proud that Nudge is able to play a role in driving that clarity, bringing some comfort to frontline teams. Building a community where people can find camaraderie, support, and guidance is really at the heart of what we do.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My one giant and all-consuming project is Nudge. We’ve been focusing on new features to help our customers and their frontline workforces return to the world of work safely. It takes up all of my time and then some.
We see major advancement in mobile devices and wireless connectivity. Technology’s ability to benefit a more diverse array of workers has drastically improved. And still, only an estimated 1% of enterprise software funding has gone toward hourly work. Eighty percent of the workforce is deskless, so over 2.7 billion employees are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to their employee experience software options.
It’s so important to us that the frontline employees feel supported and are up to speed on what is happening with their company and their peers. We are fortunate to be in the field that we are with everything that is going on; there has never been so much focus on the importance of the frontline (and we think it’s about time!).
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Surround yourself with the best and the brightest and don’t ever compromise on their addition to the culture. It is imperative that you find the right people to bring to the table who you can constantly learn and level-up with, and them with each other. When you create the right environment based on trust and shared passion for solving a problem, you really see the magic of high-performing teams.
And have fun! Seriously, we spend so much time working, prioritizing, and ensuring that strong foundational relationships exist, and it makes all the difference when working together.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Find great people and empower them.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
One person in particular, Ryan Poissant, has been a trusted advisor. He believed in me and what was possible for this company long before I truly believed it myself. As the business came together, he was a guiding light and has been a sounding board as we reach new heights. It’s great to have people around you who are brilliant at building businesses, but it’s also important to have those people who truly believe in you as an entrepreneur. Having that trusted mentor to help put things in perspective is so important as a CEO when it’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day work.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
That’s something I work on every day at Nudge. We’re very much a purpose-driven organization. We advocate on behalf of the frontline employees and hope to have a massive positive influence across the entire deskless workforce. We really believe that all workers deserve tools that help make their day at work easier, more productive, and more enjoyable.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Anything is possible, you just have to work really hard and keep persevering. In my first few years working on Nudge, I had the people around me to keep motivating me and reminding me of my worth. Hard times will come and you have to learn to push yourself through
- You have to be able to rely on yourself. Who else would you want to have to rely on? I realized that having the right people around me was so important, but if I couldn’t motivate myself and count on myself to get the work done, nothing would happen. You are your biggest motivator.
- Partner with the right people. Finding the right co-founders is critical to the success of the business and also your sanity. I have gone through more with Jordan and Dessy in our journey with Nudge than I have with anyone else. Having them as a support system in the good times and the difficult is one of the main reasons we are where we are today.
- Really love the problem you’re solving because it’s going to take a while to figure it out. The passion and sense of purpose that I felt when I first started working on the problem of frontline communication is what carries and drives me forward.
- Have fun with what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with. If you can’t laugh along the way, it isn’t worth it. We have had so many fun times along the way. From coffee mishaps to bugs down the throat to name mispronunciations, if you can’t look back and laugh, have a sense of humility about it all; it’s not worth the struggle.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
We need a sustainable support system for all humans and the earth.There can be a bright future ahead if everyone plays a role. One of the problems with climate change is it feels so big and overwhelming, but if everyone took one small step it would make a huge change.
One nudge in the right direction makes waves not only in an individual’s life but in the lives of all of those who come in contact with them. If each person began one new sustainable habit a year — in 23 years — there is a massive transformation due to all those small changes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Not too long ago someone told me: “You don’t have to do this. You get to do this.” It was really impactful for me to see the world through that lens — and it applies so well to both personal life and business. We live in a time where so much is possible, and reminding ourselves to be grateful for that opportunity can be a wonderful help when things feel hard. Perspective really is everything.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I specifically love the stories of female entrepreneurs who have created unicorns. Amy Pressman at Medallia is so unapologetically herself and has built such an amazing company with people at the center of it all. Gwynne Shotwell at SpaceX has such an inspiring story transitioning from scientist to COO/president. I would love to sit down with them and hear their stories first hand, what their struggles were, and what lies ahead of them.
I also wouldn’t hate breakfast with Beyonce.