Before retiring in January 2015, Don B. Lindner served as Manager of Practice Leadership and also the executive compensation practice leader for WorldatWork. Lindner was the staff liaison to the WorldatWork Executive Rewards Advisory Council, which operates as the association’s strategic committee for identifying, articulating and prioritizing issues, topics and challenges affecting the executive rewards profession. Lindner was responsible for developing WorldatWork certification courses on executive rewards and governance.
Lindner was the executive editor of Handbook for Reading and Preparing Proxy Statements: 4th Edition (WorldatWork 2011). He was instrumental in creating the WorldatWork Executive Rewards Questionary, an online tool to help compensation committees and practitioners clearly identify every essential factor for rewarding executives and directors. He also led the development of The Practitioner’s Guide to Executive Reward Communications.
Prior to joining WorldatWork, Lindner spent 20 years as an executive in human resources and executive compensation at Phelps Dodge Corporation and Security Pacific Bank (currently Bank of America). He also has more than 10 years of experience as a compensation consultant with Watson Wyatt, Buck Consultants and Executive Compensation Associates. As both a senior practitioner and executive compensation consultant, Lindner served as the delegate on compensation committees of both public and private company boards.
Lindner has been quoted extensively for his expertise in executive compensation and governance in major business publications including Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes, Business Week, Newsday, Financial Times, Financial Week, and numerous non-US newspapers such as Guardian, Australian Financial Review, Globe and Mail, Handelsblatt, and Les Echos.
He earned bachelor’s degrees in business and economics from Penn State University and a master’s degree in business from Virginia Tech. His professional designations and accreditations include Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CECP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) and Global Remuneration Professional (GRP).
Tell us about an experience that got you interested in the sector.
As far as an experience that got me interested in the nonprofit sector, it didn’t happen that way for me. I was introduced to the idea of volunteering when I first moved to Arizona and went to work for The Arizona Bank in 1977. Back then, most of the large banks were local independent banks which were very active and supportive in their respective communities. I was hired as a supervisor in the compensation department of the Bank and, although it was not mandatory, it was made very clear to me by Todd Langley, the Senior VP of Human Resources at the time, that if you wanted to move up in the bank and have a successful career you will want to volunteer your time and talent in the community.
So, being very astute as the age of 29, I sought out an initial volunteer opportunity on a committee trying to help the YWCA solve a financial and management issue. That was a very short stint from which I gained some insight into collaborating with others to solve problems and I met some very interesting people.
From there I volunteered on the St Josephs Lay Board, which was my first multiyear commitment to serve. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience, was able to add some value to the organization and again met and got to know some amazing people. From those early experiences I started to understand the impact these nonprofit organizations were having on their constituents and community, and I was getting much more out of the experience in terms of new skills, experience and satisfaction than I was giving.
At that point, with the exception of serving on the Hospice of the Valley Board for six years, I started to focus all my volunteer efforts on kids and education. I served on the Scottsdale School District Board for four years, the Arizona Alliance of Business supporting high school student retention programs and the Arizona Coalition for Tomorrow. My greatest commitment in terms of time, effort and impact was with the Boys & Girl Club of Scottsdale, where I served for 26 years, and the Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff, which I helped start and have served for the past six years.
What advice would you give to a leader trying to make a difference in their community?
Get involved with a nonprofit organization where you have an interest/passion and where your background, skills and experience can help the organization execute on its mission. Apply what you’ve learned from your work/professional experience to help a nonprofit be more efficient and effective.