Kelly Lyndgaard has become the de facto expert on workforce solutions for women in recovery from opioid addictions. She is the creator of Unshattered, a nationally recognized nonprofit that teaches and employs women in recovery to create beautiful and versatile handbags and accessories made from repurposed fabrics and personal items.
In doing so, Lyndgaard and the Unshattered team have found a way to cross social, economic, and emotional boundaries to provide job skills and employment in a safe and uplifting environment. Prior to founding Unshattered, Lyndgaard — who is a trained engineer and physicist — led a successful 16-year career in IT. She left to focus solely on Unshattered, and since then her work has been lauded as far as the White House. To date, Unshattered has seen a zero-percent relapse rate for employees.
Not only does Unshattered give recovering women leadership and trade skills, it allows them to build confidence and the knowledge critical to sustaining an independent, addiction-free life. “Unshattered was built through the resources that many people overlook: excess industry fabric and employees who had difficulty finding traditional employment,” says Lyndgaard. “Both resources, when applied strategically, make an amazing company!”
How do you motivate your employees and keep morale boosted during what can be a challenging time in their lives?
I focus on understanding each individual and what they are truly capable of achieving. I look for ways for them to succeed through their strengths and work hard to help them see themselves as professionals.
What do you think would surprise most people about the women who work at Unshattered?
How generous they are with their stories of recovery, for one. One of our fans called them Ambassadors of Possibility, showing the world that true recovery is possible; we like to call our customers and donors Ambassadors of Possibility, as well, because they pave the way to showcase our team and provide pathways to sobriety for more women in need.
We had the honor of meeting with the surgeon general earlier this year and he said that people in recovery are the most reliable employees because the rhythm and community of work is so important to their ongoing sobriety.