Here’s how Robert went from practicing law in Washington, to doing stand-up in Los Angeles, to now overseeing casino operations in San Jose.
Robert Lindo ‘95 is one of those enviable people who always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. In elementary school, he was asked “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” for his grade 7 yearbook. Robert mulled the question over shortly before deciding. He knew then he would become a lawyer. Ten years later, he was in law school.
Robert earned his undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University, his JD from The George Washington University, and went on to work as a litigator in Washington, DC. And while these types of success stories are admirable, they are not always the most exciting. Thankfully, Robert has had lots of stops along the way.
When Robert first arrived at Meadowridge School in 1993, he wasn’t all that thrilled. “I had been a bit of a bad kid,” he admits laughing, “I had no discipline, drive, or focus.” Seeing this, his mom gave him two choices: Meadowridge or military boarding school. He enrolled at Meadowridge the very next year. The school he enrolled in was a different place back then, still just a collection of portables with an outdoor gymnasium, 223 students, and just 18 teachers and staff. He didn’t buy into the school straightaway, but that changed pretty quickly in that first year.
When Robert first arrived at Meadowridge School in 1993, he wasn’t all that thrilled [but he] grew to love his friends, his classes, and even Meadowridge Headmaster, Mr. Graham Hookey.
Robert grew to love his friends, his classes, and even Meadowridge Headmaster, Mr. Graham Hookey. Over the next five years, he learned goal setting, personal responsibility, time management, and respect, what the alum calls “valuable skills” that he still benefits from and uses today. After five years at Meadowridge, he graduated, went off to SFU, and then—by the time he was just 21 years old—enrolled in Law School at GWU.
Living in Washington, DC was “amazing.” It was there that Robert discovered a vibrant scene of politics, art, history, and people. After a year of settling in, (Robert arrived in Washington by car… with only his car) the young law student found his footing. He learned his way around the city, how to apply for grants and loans, and earned positions at the university like Publicity Chair of the Mock Trial Board, Student Chair of the Student Recruitment Committee, and Assistant Programs Director with the Student Bar Association. In his third year, he became a Dean’s Fellow, co-teaching Legal Research and Writing to first-year law students. “I was able to study International Human Rights Law at Oxford for a semester,” Robert shares about his time at GWU, “my professors were on television being interviewed on CNN, while another worked with the Clinton administration. . . you can’t compete!”
After three years of law school, he went to work as a defence litigator at two different Washington, DC law firms. It was going well for Robert, but when an opportunity presented itself, an opportunity to turn his part-time passion into something more, he couldn’t say no.
You see, while going to law school and working and settling in, Robert had also been taking acting classes and was becoming interested in the theatre scene. He liked acting, but never saw it as a potential career. That changed when Robert heard about a new, too-perfect Fox television series that was being cast. Billed as the legal version of The Apprentice—contestants vied for a position at a law firm instead of a business—Robert knew he had to give it a shot. He went to his first real audition in Georgetown. From there he was called out to Hollywood to conduct screen tests and undergo a series of in-person psychological tests and interviews.
Though Robert was ultimately cast, a similarly themed show from a different network tanked and forced Fox to cancel the series before filming had even begun. It was a bust for that first stab at show biz, but Robert was hooked. He flew back to DC and began planning how to make the move to Hollywood.
Within a year, Robert found himself driving to a new city (again), without a job, a place to live, and almost no local friends. A good friend from law school let him crash at his place, while the newly-unemployed lawyer looked for work. Having earned a culinary degree during undergrad, Robert took on odd jobs as a cook and bartender and got gigs helping lawyers from time to time. In between these jobs, Robert was hard at work.
He enrolled in acting classes, got headshots, signed up with the Groundlings (an improv and sketch comedy school where his teacher was Flo from Progressive Insurance), was cast in plays, national commercials, some B movies, and ran a stand-up show at the world-famous Hollywood Improv. 2014 was a good year for Robert. He was cast in a Superbowl commercial by WeatherTech and he became “Dwight Goodman,” the road safety spokesperson for the state of New Mexico. It was, as he explains it, “the start of the Hollywood career.”
Robert in a commercial for New Mexico as Dwight Goodman.
See another one of his commercials here.
But it would take much longer to see if this little bit of success could sustain the kind of life he wanted. Robert was weary of the gig work, periods of intense busyness followed by lulls, and he needed something more predictable if he wanted a family and a house. “I knew I didn’t want to be a 55-year-old auditioning for cereal commercials,” he laughs. So, when a friend from law school asked if he would be interested in interviewing as her client’s general counsel in San Jose, California, he said yes. He applied, got the job, and was on the move again.
Robert is now the Vice President of Casino M8trix, a busy and wide-ranging position that has him working with everyone from employees, regulators, and elected officials on any given day.
“I have a lot of to-do lists that are constantly getting re-written, recycled, and then added to,” he explains of his work. He has also gotten involved as a Trustee with the San Jose Museum of Art and a Board Member of the local chamber of commerce – volunteer work that aligns with his own personal mission to bolster San Jose and show the world how “cool” the city is.
Sitting on the SJMA’s Development Committee, Robert spends time raising money for the museum and fostering corporate partnerships. Through his efforts, he hopes to get people to wonder and care about things they might not otherwise be exposed to. The museum’s goal is to be a borderless facility and the work it features brings a much-needed voice to those often marginalized in the art world. “Female artists, minority artists, art that represents ‘the other’ . . .,” he shares, “those are important to see.”
Outside of work and volunteerism, Robert has recently become engaged, and he and his fiancée Kathryn have taken advantage of the pandemic to travel safely to nearby places. “We did lots of road trips,” he nods. When not on the road, the pair also enjoys hiking, dining out, travelling, and attending art exhibitions.
With his upcoming nuptials, a rewarding career, and a fulfilling personal life, Robert has plenty to be proud of. It is pretty telling, then, that his “best claim to fame” is still from his days at Meadowridge: beating his Headmaster Mr. Graham Hookey in an arm-wrestling competition. “I got his parking spot for the year,” he grins.