As the point of contact for tenants and visitors entering 233 N. Michigan Ave., Lynsay Lindsey handles a multitude of responsibilities.
“The first person you see when you walk into the lobby is me,” she said. “I help people navigate the complex. I make sure the elevators are running properly. And sometimes, I am your friend.”
Lindsey has been perfecting her customer service skills since she was a high school student at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Chicago. “I went towards hospitality management because my teacher felt that my personality fit and I had a hostess kind of vibe.”
The recommendation complemented the wisdom Lindsey had learned from her parents while growing up in Bronzeville.
Lindsey’s father was a music teacher who played the upright acoustic bass. Her mother was a social worker and flautist who worked for Catholic Charities before retiring to pursue music while raising her children at home. Together, they built family unity through engagement.
“Whenever my parents had a gig, my brother and I would be part of it,” she said. “People would wonder if we were a musical family like the von Trapps.”
After graduating from Dunbar, Lindsey embarked on a career of increasing responsibility and interesting locales. She developed “a lot of respect for hockey players” while working as a guest services representative at United Center. From there, she accepted a telemarketing job and, for the next three years, developed “a thick skin” by calling residences as late as 8 p.m. She eased the cold-calling tension with an impressive personal technique.
“I would change my voice to sound different,” she said. “I would go with a British accent, or an old lady, or someone from a different country or a young girl on her first job. Sometimes I would mimic the accent of the person on the other line. It really worked on men.”
Next, she worked security at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where her duties included checking trucks for proper clearance before allowing them to enter a restricted airfield.
A help-wanted ad prompted her to pursue her current job at One Illinois Center.
“I got an-over-the phone interview, and they liked the way I sounded,” she said.
Besides housing law firms, ad agencies and insurance companies, One Illinois Center is home to the media company iHeartRadio, which adds a dash of celebrity to Lindsey’s job.
Mike Tyson, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are among the personalities she has seen since starting the job in 2011. But the most memorable was DJ Herb Kent, “the Cool Gent,” who recorded his final show in the building on a Sunday afternoon.
“He always said that was going to be on the radio until he died,” she recalled. “He was a pioneer in radio and a very nice man with a great sense of humor.”
When she’s not at work, Lindsey enjoys spending time at home in Englewood with her three children. “They’re best friends,” she said. “When people call, they don’t realize I have kids because my house is so quiet.”
She also enjoys getting together with her own friends social-distancing for as long as their patience allows. “We sit there and look at each other and talk until it’s time to say OK, I’m done looking at you,” she joked.