top of page

7 Questions on Leadership with Ken Lingad

Name: Ken Lingad

Title: Partner

Organisation: RWLGS Inc.

Ken Lingad is a distinctively authentic Native American icon of the Southwest. An enrolled member of the Indian Pueblo of Isleta, he bridges the divide between private interests (Private Equity, Capital Projects, New Business Partnerships, etc.) and Native American Tribes and Enterprises, while serving as an Intellectual Resource and Transformation Leader for a diverse scope of industries: Multinational Corporations; Family Office, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI); Native American Tribes, Tribal Councils / Business Committees, Enterprises; State Governments, Sovereign Tribal Governments, Federal Government; Feature Film, TV, OTT (Streaming Platform); Live / Recorded Music; Entertainment (Film Studio) Real Estate Development; and more.

The visionary founder of national public relations agency 1680PR, Ken Lingad remains a key figure in the development and success of New Mexico's Film industry, advising New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's Cabinet Secretaries and entertainment entities, such as Albuquerque Studios, Netflix, Hackman Capital Partners, The MBS Group, and more industry titans.

Lingad's recent venture as co-founding Partner of RWLGS Inc — a Management Consultancy with Fortune 500 Global Business experience — places him at the forefront of top-tier entertainment, while projects he's led or touched are already a part of people's daily lives around the world.

The subject of noted author Suzanne Deats’ bestselling book, "Contemporary Native American Artists," Ken Lingad divides his time between sharply different environs: the high desert of the Indian reservation where he was born and raised, and the green landscape of Nashville, Tennessee.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ken's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

There were two predominant challenges I faced in my early years as a leader. The first was shouldering the load of always being the head of the brain trust — I always felt the need to know everything, know how to do everything, and be the subject matter expert on everything. The second, was the same loneliness most executive leaders experience leading a company. CEOs are expected to lead outwardly, while also keeping their proverbial cards close to their chest, which creates an isolation factor that makes it hard to foster peer relationships.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I grew up being the exact opposite of having leadership qualities or experience. It wasn't until I volunteered for a leadership role in college that I was forced / molded into a leader of large groups of people. From that point to now, I have become the leader I never knew I could be, but was born to absolutely be in virtually every vertical of my professional and personal life.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I don't believe in "someday" or "when I retire" state of mind. My "happily-ever-after" is now. That being said, I do not set an alarm clock (unless I am traveling). I've created the life I want, which includes waking up whenever I want to. I typically go to bed early — between 9:30-10pm — and rise between 5am and 6.

I begin my day with meditation and journaling to prepare for the day I envision having. I move to my back patio with a mug of bulletproof coffee and scan emails for any immediate situational needs, as I typically balance multiple time zones for business.

I arrive at my office between 9:30-11am, unless I have a previously scheduled meeting at an earlier time, and work until I complete the tasks at hand — usually around 6pm, but sometimes as late as 9pm, or so.

I travel frequently for business and pleasure, so the only difference is I typically work traditional hours — say 8am-6pm, and then the requisite business dinner, etc.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

My response to all events equals the outcome.

Also, I don't always have to be the sole expert in the room — that is for what I pay others to be.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

3 different clients of mine — in extremely separate verticals and times — told me my consulting process was very similar to a self-help personality named Jack Canfield. I had never heard of that person before (I wish I had), so I decided to learn more about him after the third time I was compared to him.

I was not necessarily able to see any connection from a professional standpoint at first. I mean, what could the author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" with me? Then I dived deeper and found his "The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" book. After 10 minutes in, I got it. I remain humbled and supremely honored by the compliment from those clients.

As for how it impacted my leadership, it did not. But what it DID do, was introduce me to the life-changing philosophies of the late Jim Rohn via casual references in various chapters.

The most significant audio book (I could not find it available in print) I have absorbed repeatedly more than 10 times is "The Ultimate Jim Rohn Library" — and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I've often said that if I had been given a copy of anything by Jim Rohn when I was in high school, I would have been where I am now twenty years earlier.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

I have 3:

Read — a lot. Period. Absorb and process every single thought, philosophy, and experience possible when it comes to your professional plans.

Keep company with those who have already achieved success / greatness and learn everything you can from them...then find new company and repeat.

Time is your greatest wealth — do not waste it in the company of those who aren't on the same path as you, or have already accomplished what you intend to do.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

A CEO (I'll call him John) of a small business, with whom I am personally acquainted, fully acquired the company his ex-wife founded and bootstrapped with less than $50 in the bank and had built into a multi-million dollar business.

John quickly found that his ex-wife had been such a strong leader and was the catalyst for the company's success, and also the only reason why prospective clients sought the company's services.

Every time John has reached out to me for advice, his narrative completely blames the poor health of his company (along with a mass exodus of employees / consulting colleagues) on everything else but his own business decisions.

The glaring lesson in this situation (which is on-going as of this writing) is that blaming or finding fault in others is not a leadership characteristic. Strong, effective, and well-respected leaders take 100% responsibility for their decisions — especially the bad choices and courses of action. They learn from the takeaways and course correct wherever they are able to make changes. Effective leaders see the spokes of the wheels through sober eyes, listen and consider the data or other feedback available, and take action as the responsible party — not a victim of outside circumstances. Knowledge without action is useless, and blaming others for your leadership failures prevents you from steering the ship on which you and your team sail.

bottom of page