Lindsey Woods, Accidental Life Coach and Butler Center Star

Lindsey Woods is an Assistant Director of Programs in the UMiami Butler Center. She is so amazing that we forgive her for being a Gator. She graduated from UF with degrees in Sociology and Family, Youth and Community Sciences (same degree as Tim Tebow). At Appalachian State, she received her Master of Arts in College Student Development. Lindsey acts as a bridge between opportunity and positive social change.

“We just do what we love, so when we are recognized or rewarded for it, it feels weird. I mean of course I wake up and want to do this. Who wouldn't?”

Q: What does service mean to you?

A: “My definition of service is linked to my definition of a servant leader. A servant leader is someone who gives of themselves willingly for someone else’s benefit. Service happens when we recognize: “I have a hands, a brain, and a heart full of passion” and ask ourselves, 'What can I do to help?'"

Q: What is the first service project you remember participating in?

A: "At 12 years old I volunteered at Give Kids the World Village with my mom. I didn't’t really know what the families were experiencing until my mom explained that while, yes they were on vacation, it was probably the last vacation the kids would ever get to have. I’ve since been back multiple times, and we even had an Alternative Break’s group sent there."

Q: I am a student who knows they want to get involved in the community but has no idea where to start. Where can I turn?

A: "Come to the Butler Center. Meet with student staff or even with me, so we can find an opportunity that fits you. The details ensure we find something that will be a meaningful experience for you and the community partner. We will teach you the online database system, which is a great resource."

Q: The Mad Hatter and Alice walk through your door and ask how to get involved in service. What Butler Center Community Partners do you suggest to them?

A: "Streamline Miami. This group focuses on public school education and finding ways to make life better for kids. They make the list due to the relationship [the Butler Center has] with them and their ability to “just say yes and then find a way to make it work. Feeding South Florida. This is for the Mad Hatter since he is all about getting things done, is always moving around, and likes things to be fast paced. The organization works with communities, shelters, and places of worship to feed those in need. On site volunteering is all about packaging food and a lot done as quickly as possible. Miami Rescue Mission. Alice is so naturally curious and gets pushed around Wonderland so quickly, but she really just wants to slow down and talk; ask questions. This ‘formerly homeless shelter’ would give her the chance to sit and enjoy hearing the experiences of residents while also performing service."

Q: What three things come to mind when I say the word ‘leadership’?

A: “Service; not-positional; impactful.”

Q: Who or what inspires you?

A: “Oh, so many things. Family. I come from four generations of military. My mom was a major in the U.S. Army for 10 years before she was mom. She’s a badass and inspires me daily. She has so much passion for life. She overcame so many obstacles for women in the military at the time and led a group of men. Butler Center Community Partners. Their willingness to work long hours all for the benefit of people and the place where we live. Students. This is harder to talk about. Students don’t realize that even in the most mundane things they do, they teach us so much. You all are so filled with hope that the world can be a better place and will work through whatever obstacles to get there.”

Q: This year the Butler Center has these amazing stickers that say “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” What does that mean?

A: “We all have a comfort zone where life is good, we’re good, but when you see there is something else out there...and when you decide to push outside, even just a little bit, the opportunities are endless. You’d never know what those things were unless stepped out.”

Q: If your life was a Disney soundtrack what three songs would have to be on the album?

A: “"I See the Light” from Tangled. This was the last movie I saw with my pop-pop before he passed away. I was incredibly close to my grandparents. So it has that personal connection, but it also has an incredible meaning. I love this song so much I want to dance to it at my wedding. "Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King. “No worries," is kind of a life philosophy for me...Life is too short to worry about every little thing. “Stranger Like Me” from Tarzan. We grow up only knowing our bubble, but there are opportunities to learn more about people who are strangers...misconceptions get thrown out the window. It is important to go into things with an open mind and actually listen. There is beauty that can come from that. People surprise you.”

Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

A: “Running my first half-marathon. It is amazing what you can do when you get to the point that you block out all the comparisons and negativity and set a goal and just do it for yourself.” The experience helped me in so many ways: more adventurous, more health conscious, stronger physically and emotionally, spilled over into work. I am even training for another race right now.

Q: Favorite female book character?

A: "Tris Prior. She embodies everything I want to be, because she is kind, selfless, intelligent, brave, strong, and honest all in one person. She shows that we have endless potential and it is okay to be more than one dimensional. People aren't told that it is okay to be everything nearly enough.”

Q: Favorite male book character?

A: "Neville Longbottom. He’s the awkward one to everyone; the little weirdo on the side. But, he has so much potential and so much fire in his belly. He development in the series and him killing the snake in the last book…I just love that. He’s the underdog that deserves, and gets, to experience his moment in the sun.”

Lindsey reminds you to be curious like Alice, brave like Rapunzel, and open like Tarzan. She let's you know that, like Tris, it is ok to be all of those things and so much more all at once. If you ever need to be reminded that being human is the best thing we can be, then stop by her office.