Kelly Lyndgaard

Tell me about your business or specialty.

I’m the founder and CEO of Unshattered, a 501c3 nonprofit social enterprise whose mission is to end the addiction relapse cycle. We provide pathways toward economic independence and sustained sobriety by employing women who are overcoming addiction to make premium sustainable handbags from upcycled materials. Each bag is lovingly handcrafted in NY's Hudson Valley and made from reclaimed, upcycled materials. 100% of every purchase goes directly to our mission.

We've been providing full-time employment for women in recovery for nearly five years and we've seen every single one of our employees continue to choose sobriety during their time with us. We take a holistic approach to healing and incorporate a personal and professional development curriculum into our employees' work week so that they receive 4 hours of paid time for activities such as therapeutic counseling, life-skills training, mentoring, and more.

How'd you get to where you are now?

I spent 16 year in the IT world as an engineer and executive. I used to be the person who was very judgmental about people struggling with addiction. After hearing a woman in recovery share the circumstances and struggle of addiction, and how hard it was to maintain sobriety and rebuild her life, my perspective was completely changed. So much so that I resigned from my executive role at IBM to start Unshattered.

How has the Covid crisis affected your work or business? Any new ideas or approaches...or lessons learned so far?

I knew that our employees were the most economically and emotionally vulnerable population and needed to keep the rhythm and community of work through the COVID crisis. I committed that we would pay their salaries through the end of the year no matter what.

Last March, we pivoted as quickly as we could and within 24 hours completely changed our manufacturing line, partnered with a local hospital, and began making masks that we donated to our community. We were able to make and donate 9000 masks to 242 hospitals, prisons, and caregiving agencies in our community. The most incredible part of this is that it was led by our team - a group of women who within the last 2-3 years had been homeless, addicted, incarcerated and more. COVID further proved that when women have purpose, community, and economic stability they can truly thrive.

What surprises you in your work, now or in the past?

I am delighted every day to find out that I can’t overestimate my team. People in recovery are the most creative, resilient, hardworking employees you’ll ever hire. I love being surprised by the talent and passion that is unleashed in them when they start believing in themselves.

What drives you crazy?

We desperately need to expand into a larger facility to be able to serve more women and commercial real estate is frustrating, slow, and expensive!

Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

My team. They are grateful, humble, encouraging, and true leaders. I’ve never worked with a better group of women.

You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights in your career to date?

Unshattered - as a tiny nonprofit - being recognized by The White House alongside Amazon, Google, Facebook and Walgreens, for our effective and creative work in fighting the opioid epidemic. And...serving as program manager for what was, at the time, the world’s fastest supercomputer launching a satellite instrument into space.

Words of wisdom or thoughts?

Work from your giftedness and help others work from theirs.


Kelly Lyndgaard is the Founder and CEO of Unshattered - a 501c3 social enterprise whose mission is to end the addiction relapse cycle by employing women in recovery to help them build a path toward economic independence and sustained sobriety. Previously a Fortune 20 executive, Kelly left the corporate world to begin Unshattered. The organization has been featured via Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS News, Fox Business, and Country Living Magazine.

The success of Unshattered has been lauded as far as the White House who recognized Unshattered for their creative and effective work in fighting the opioid crisis. Unshattered was named the non-profit of the Year by THiNK Dutchess, won the MHAFP award for Innovation in Philanthropy, and named Best Social Enterprise by Hudson Valley Magazine - which also named Kelly as one of the top women in business in 2019.

Kelly is a strategic leader and entrepreneur with a unique balance of analytical, "what if" thinking, and decisive execution. Her track record includes 16 years in the technology industry and six years as the CEO of Unshattered. Kelly is a creative thinker and social entrepreneur who is ignited by challenge. She is an Ambassador of Possibility who sees potential where others overlook it and is most gratified when she can create something from nothing - particularly building social justice systems that empower the disenfranchised. She has a degree in Engineering Physics from Taylor University. | @unshatteredny (facebook & instagram)

(published 2021)