Human Resources and Law

Q&A: Linsey Gleason

May 31, 2016
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Linsey Gleason
Linsey Gleason. Courtesy Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.

A born-and-raised west sider, Linsey Gleason moved to Grand Rapids and joined Varnum in 2008, concentrating on all things estate planning and becoming a partner in 2015.

Gleason is passionate about counseling her clients and helping them to identify and achieve their immediate and long-term estate planning and philanthropic goals and about her own community involvement and nonprofit board service.

She earned her bachelor's degree in general management from Michigan State University and completed an additional major in economics.

After a short stint working as a professional SCUBA diver by day and karaoke hostess by night, Gleason attended MSU College of Law, where she graduated summa cum laude with her J.D.

Biggest career break?

Getting a position as a summer associate at Varnum between my second and third years of law school. I graduated from law school in 2008 when legal jobs were hard to come by, and I was extremely fortunate to have a door opened to me during that time.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Apply for Leadership Grand Rapids. It's one of the best things I've ever done personally and professionally.

How did you make your first dollar?

I'm sure it was for a chore assigned by my dad — probably scraping paint off the garage — but my first paycheck came from Pitkin's Pharmacy and Gift Shoppe in Whitehall, where I worked as a sales clerk during high school.

Most-treasured possession?

My dog, Zoey, though I don't like to think of my best friend as a possession.

Dream job?

Running a family foundation

If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?

Try to consult with all of the smartest and best-informed people I could find to get an appreciation for the complexity and challenges of the job and learn how I could best make an impact after losing the job the next day.

Last book you’ve read?

I'm currently reading “Behind the Beautiful Forever,” inspired by a trip I took to India last year.

Last thing you Googled?

It almost certainly had to do with food. I'm eagerly planning where to dine during my next trip to Traverse City.

Your worst habit?

Checking my email and otherwise being distracted by my phone when I should be enjoying my company and surroundings.

To unwind, I like to . . . ?

Have a glass of wine or a Michigan craft beer on a patio in the company of my friends.

Dream vacation?

I LOVE to travel. There's almost no place I wouldn't visit, if given the opportunity, but southeast Asia is probably at the top of my list right now.

Favorite food?

This is the easiest question yet: ice cream.

Person you most admire?

My friend Stacie Behler. She's an active community trustee, an incredibly intelligent and generous person and a true supportive friend to many.  

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