Lindsey Bruner: A Visionary Leader Transforming the Data Center Industry with Innovation and Inclusivity

Top 10 Empowering Women Leaders to Follow in 2024

In the dynamic world of business leadership, individuals like Lindsey Bruner, the Chief Operating Officer of CleanArc Data Centers, stand out as beacons of inspiration. She has navigated a remarkable path, filled with challenges, triumphs, and invaluable lessons. Her journey from a legal background to the forefront of the data center industry showcases her resilience, strategic thinking, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

A Journey from Law to Data Centers

Lindsey’s career began in private law practice, where she honed her skills as a lawyer working on real estate and M&A transactions. After a few years in private law firm practice, she went in-house with the Americas branch of RES Group, working on the legal side of utility-scale renewable energy projects across the Americas. Her tenure at CyrusOne further solidified her expertise, culminating in her current role at CleanArc Data Centers.

“I left RES to join the legal team at CyrusOne, and after a couple of years in that role, I had the opportunity to move over to the business side of the organization and run their global project development team, which I did for the next four years before making the leap to CleanArc,” Lindsey recalls.

Redefining Success and Leading with Purpose

Every leader has a unique definition of success. Lindsey believes that success is beginning and ending each day with the true feeling of gratitude. She sees success as being able to say, ‘I left something better than I found it’ and having someone tell her that she inspired, encouraged, or motivated them in some way.

CleanArc Data Centers is a developer, owner, and operator of hyperscale data center campuses. What sets CleanArc apart is their specialized energy product, which offers customers the ability to serve their facility with load-following renewable energy, a valuable offering for customers committed to managing their carbon footprint.

As Chief Operating Officer, Lindsey is responsible for all the administrative and business operations of the company, the execution of strategy, and the coordination of all business units. She also currently leads the acquisitions, development, program, and design teams, as well as overseeing functions such as legal, HR, and IT.

Leading an early-stage and growing organization like CleanArc Data Centers to success is not an easy road to take. Lindsey describes her journey as challenging yet rewarding. While starting with a blank slate offers opportunities to be creative and proactive, it also requires a lot of work to build up processes and collateral that support the value proposition. She likens it to putting together a 1500-piece puzzle without having the image on the box to guide you, but she thrives on the challenge.

Overcoming Roadblocks, Achieving Success

Lindsey has encountered some roadblocks in her professional journey, but turned them into valuable lessons about taking the reins of her career path.

“The ‘roadblocks’ I’ve run into in my career so far have always been the gaps between my ambition—where I want to be—and how far I could go in that particular environment. In every case, I’ve had to leave something that was comfortable, but ultimately unfulfilling. The lessons I’ve taken from those experiences are that discomfort and growth go hand in hand, and that the final decision on what your career needs should always come down to what you want and need, not your employer,” she explains.

As a leader, Lindsey believes that helping others succeed is the ultimate measure of her leadership. “My job as a leader is to make sure my teams have what they need to do their jobs successfully—that they have the tools, resources, and support to execute and deliver. So, my greatest achievement as a leader is, and always will be, when I can help someone else succeed,” she insists.

Empowering Women in Leadership by Paying It Forward

In the male-dominated data center industry, Lindsey recognizes the crucial role mentorship played in her career. She considers herself fortunate to have had phenomenal mentors and sponsors, both men and women, who supported her career journey and helped her develop into the leader she is today. Her mission is to pay forward the support she received, aiming to make a meaningful impact on the next generation of leaders.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to have had really phenomenal mentors and sponsors—both men and women—who have supported me on my career journey, and they have been key in helping me develop as a person, an employee, and a leader to reach the position I have today,” she says. “It’s a mission of mine to pay that forward. Even though we’re slightly more than half the population, less than a quarter of people in the C-suite are women, (and that number is even lower for women of color).”

Lindsey emphasizes the need to advance women beyond entry-level positions in traditionally male-dominated fields like construction, finance, engineering, and tech, and highlights the importance of companies focusing on training, development, and promotion to achieve more representative upper management. “Do you, as a company, as an employer, have a way to advance them beyond entry-level?” Lindsey asks. “The way to a more representative upper management is to ensure that there is as much focus on training, development, and promotion as there is on hiring.”

Charting a Course for Growth and Success

Lindsey’s vision for the future of CleanArc Data Centers includes closing on their first land parcel with power in early 2024, with several other sites in pursuit. “With the scale of our sites—we focus on developing campuses of ~500MW – we’re putting together a portfolio that will deliver multiple gigawatts of capacity over the next decade,” she shares. “And that level of capacity, and at that scale, are necessary to meet the demands for growth that we are seeing in the data center industry.”

Despite significant competition for sites with the right combination of power, network availability, and scale, Lindsey sees unprecedented demand and growth creating new opportunities in existing markets and even entirely new markets. To stay ahead, the company is continuously evaluating and adapting to the evolving competitive landscape, committing resources to design and develop the data centers of tomorrow.

Redefining Balance and Self-Motivation

Lindsey’s role at CleanArc Data Centers involves being hands-on with various tasks, such as vendor contracts and land purchase negotiations, due to the company’s small size. Her typical day is filled with a mix of active, reporting, and oversight meetings, along with finding time to tackle hands-on projects. To manage her workload, Lindsey uses tools like the Eisenhower Matrix to identify priorities and manage her time effectively. When asked to define herself in one word, Lindsey chooses “Unexpected.”

Lindsey avoids using the term “balance” when describing her approach to personal and professional life, as it implies a fixed equilibrium that may not always be achievable. She emphasizes the importance of taking PTO and communicates her off-limits days to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

“Equilibrium is not a realistic possibility for many of us. Instead, I look at what has to be prioritized in a given time period and – here’s the key – what boundaries I can set to maintain those priorities. While obviously my job is a priority, sometimes it’s priority two instead of always being priority one – for example, I’ve declined speaking engagements or requested virtual meeting participation because they conflicted with my daughter’s schedule.  I also take my PTO, and I always communicate what days are off-limits, except for emergencies,” Lindsey explains.

In terms of motivation, she thrives on challenges and strives to continually improve. Lindsey does not compete with others but rather challenges herself to do better. “It’s important for a company culture to model the things you want to be represented, and that starts at the top. As far as motivating myself, I like a challenge and I don’t like to lose- but I don’t compete with other people, just myself. ‘How can I do this better?’ is a frequent question,” she shares.

Charting a Path Beyond the C-Suite

While her current role is her first C-suite position, Lindsey has ambitions for more in the future. “This is my first C-suite role, but it won’t be my last. I can see going to a different industry at some point, or a different type of company – established versus startup. I’d love to take my experiences and become an executive coach someday,” she announces.

In her advice to aspiring businesswomen, Lindsey emphasizes the importance of the people they surround themselves with. She believes that a good inner circle is crucial for success. “The people you surround yourself with are your greatest predictor of success. A good inner circle will be your trusted advisors and sounding board, both personally and professionally, and it’s important to include in that circle people who will challenge your assumptions, offer different perspectives, and even disagree with you while still supporting you,” she recommends.


Lindsey Bruner’s journey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, vision, and authenticity in leadership. As a leader, she has redefined success, leaving a positive impact and inspiring others. Lindsey believes in empowering women in leadership and advocates for a focus on training, development, and promotion to increase female representation in upper management.

Her story inspires us to embrace challenges, seek growth opportunities, and prioritize what truly matters in our personal and professional lives. As Lindsey continues to pave the way for future generations of leaders, her legacy will undoubtedly be one of empowerment, resilience, and transformation.