It took some time to connect with Lindsay Blackwood. Along with the litany of inevitable contributors to delaying an interview, Blackwood had big news. She was announced as the new executive vice president and general counsel at the Brink’s Company in November of 2021, a company she’s called home for the past nine years.
“Since joining Brink’s, Lindsay has provided sound guidance to the Brink’s executive leadership team, as well as our board of directors and its committees on corporate governance matters, executive compensation, financing, disclosures and compliance with US federal securities regulations,” president and CEO Doug Pertz said in the announcement. “She is also playing the lead role in developing the legal and regulatory strategy surrounding the introduction of our tech-enabled cash management solutions.”
It’s an exciting time for a lawyer who once put her career on hold, thinking she might instead prefer to teach fourth grade. Blackwood’s journey is one of a lawyer who took time to figure out exactly what motivated her in her practice, and one who hasn’t shied away from branching out into new areas almost twenty years into her legal career.
Blackwood’s path has been influenced by female legal leaders who have clearly made an impact on the lawyer’s own leadership. The new Brink’s GC earned her role, but she’s careful to note each and every person who has helped her get where she is.
The lawyer’s curiosity and drive commenced at the all-girls Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, where civic participation was a priority. From her sophomore to senior year, every Wednesday was spent working for the community.
“My sophomore year, you either worked at a daycare or preschool setting or in a hospital or elderly home,” Blackwood remembers. “As a junior, I had a Capitol Hill internship where I worked for a representative from Ohio, and I also worked at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It was such an important experience because it’s where I learned to prioritize work and school life, and I think it made me ready to work in different environments from a pretty early age.”
That variety of work would follow into Blackwood’s legal career. Early in-house experiences offered her the chance to work on everything from data privacy initiatives and record retention to a congressional inquiry and M&A work.
“None of these were my areas of expertise, but I was fortunate to be given opportunities at a young age by leaders whose foresight has really helped me navigate the last ten years of my career,” Blackwood says. “That early work has helped me understand how everyone has a piece of the puzzle and that every stakeholder needs to be appreciated.”
That willingness to tackle new areas hasn’t gone away. Over the last two years, Blackwood, who built out the bulk of her career in the corporate and securities environment, has been able to work on massive strategic projects that shored up her credentials as a commercial lawyer.
“Who gets to change their trajectory eighteen years into their legal career?” Blackwood asks, laughing. “It’s not so much changing practice areas as really getting a chance to dive into a different practice and develop another technical set of legal skills.”
While it can be difficult for women to find female role models in the legal sector, Blackwood says she’s been the beneficiary of incredible women who have molded her own leadership.
There’s the general counsel that taught Blackwood the importance of not just the content, but the presentation, early in her career. “She taught me about attention to detail and how to strive for perfection while still being so generous with leadership opportunities,” Blackwood remembers.
There was another GC who seemed willing to jump into any issue, whether she was an expert or not, and lend a hand. Blackwood learned the art of providing sound judgment even in uncertain waters. “She also taught me the importance of delegating,” Blackwood says. “She always told me whenever something comes across your desk, you should ask yourself if there is anyone else who is in a better position to handle this particular item. That’s hard for type A people to do.”
And then there’s former Brink’s GC Dana O’Brien, who Blackwood says has probably been the most influential leader despite working with her for the shortest period of time. “She’s just an incredible, incredible leader whose approach I want to emulate,” Blackwood explains. “Her organization, her approach to balance, and her openness—I can’t say enough about how much she taught me.”
Looking ahead in her own GC duties, Blackwood says that she’ll continue to seek out ways to optimize the legal function, an important and prescient topic. There’s also a company-wide digital strategy as well as a cash management transformation that makes it an incredible time to be the legal leader at the Brink’s Company.
“I’m mostly just looking forward to being shoulder-to-shoulder with the business and driving this new chapter of a 160-year-old company,” Blackwood says. “I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do.”