High-Energy Speaker and Trainer David Pinkley

David Pinkley isn’t just one of the nation’s emerging forward thinkers; he’s a music lover, fitness fanatic, Michigan Wolverine fan, and a mediocre guitar player. He is a lifelong learner who has benefited from diverse life experiences which help him connect with people everywhere he goes.

David’s Story

David Pinkley didn’t become a career mastermind overnight. Whether speaking, training, or coaching others, he draws upon three decades of career management success. He has inspired audiences with his words, taught people to become effective leaders, and worked with clients in over ten countries across the globe.

David’s wisdom comes from a deep understanding of people, careers, and leadership. Through his Awaken Your Professional Soul platform, he will energize you with his words and empower you to further your career. Most importantly, he will show you how to translate your personal story into a powerful brand that yields professional success.

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A Brief Interview with David Pinkley

Q1. What do you mean by awaken your professional soul?

It’s that “Ah-Ha!” moment. That moment of revelation; when you discover something you didn’t know about yourself and how it has shaped your career positively or negatively. People crave understanding and I am fortunate to be able to see in others things they don’t see in themselves. It’s an immensely powerful thing to awaken someone’s professional soul.

Q2. How would you describe your presentation style?

The content is substantive. It’s a blend of real stories, practical advice and a heaping spoonful of commonsense. My presentation style has been described as kinetic and intellectually provocative. But however you describe it my aim is to connect with an audience.

Q3. What can people do to become better leaders?

Get to know people around you by asking questions that go beyond what is superficial. Ask probing questions and listen attentively to show people you care. If you do that with people on your team and the people you interview you won’t have to lead; people will naturally follow you.

Q4. You say the hiring process is broken. How?

No one is happy with the way hiring works. For job seekers it’s cumbersome. For hiring managers it’s inefficient. Recruiters are overloaded. The human element has been squeezed out of the process. Teaching how to connect is a simple but powerful solution. It’s easy to overlook because it’s low-tech.

Q5. Where did you start your career?

I studied accounting at the University of Michigan. I passed the CPA exam and was fortunate to land a job at Ernst & Young. I say “fortunate” because when I graduated in 1991 the country was at war and the U.S. economy was in recession.

Q6. What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

I took a giant leap of faith at age of 26 and became an executive recruiter. Working at Ernst & Young was great but being a CPA was not for me. So I rolled the dice on recruiting. That was a significant moment because I trusted what my gut was saying. Twenty years later I’ve never looked back.

Q7. What have you learned from being an entrepreneur?

Resilience. I’ve been my own boss since 2001. I’ve survived two recessions, a divorce and custody litigation that lasted many years. It’s the hard things that forge your character. Adversity has been a key factor in my success and I’m amazed at how true that is for other professionals.

Q8. What do you do when not working?

What I do never feels like work. So I’m always doing it. Otherwise I’m listening to music, playing guitar, reading a James Michener novel or spending time with my family and three kids.

Q9. You’re a music lover. Do you have a favorite lyric?

I have many favorites but my all-time favorite song lyric comes from Crosby Stills & Nash. “Don’t let the past remind you of where you are not now.”

Q10. What’s one thing people would never guess about you?

I lived in Chicago for five years after college. There’s this church located in Lincoln Park. I went there one Sunday not knowing it was one of the largest, historic African-American congregations in Chicago. I became a member and worshiped there for 4 years. I still consider them family.

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