A bestselling author, speaker and business leader, Lindsay MacMillan grew up in Kalamazoo before going on to graduate magna cum laude from Dartmouth College and started her career on Wall Street, becoming a Vice President at Goldman Sachs at 28.
While working in finance in New York and London, MacMillan carved out early mornings and weekends to pursue her dream of being an author. Her debut novel, The Heart of the Deal, was published in 2022 via Penguin Random House, and her second book is forthcoming in 2023. MacMillan is a TEDx speaker and has been interviewed by Katie Couric, CNBC, Business Insider and more.
Since moving back to West Michigan, she is leveraging her background to empower women through her role as Head of Community Engagement at Sleeping Giant Capital, a Kalamazoo-based investment firm.
How does your early career success on Wall Street help inform your work to empower women in business in your current role with SGC?
Wall Street was a six-year business bootcamp for me, and one I was initially intimidated by. Finance is still male-dominated, and when I joined Goldman Sachs out of college as an investor, I was the only woman on my team of 20. As I climbed the ranks, I wasn't sure how the dots were going to connect, but I had the sense I'd be able to use these business skills—and the network I was making—to lift up other women, and also my hometown community.
When I moved back to Kalamazoo, I met Doug and Derrick, co-founders of Sleeping Giant Capital, and their mission immediately energized me. Sleeping Giant invests in Michigan businesses to help them grow, and we're targeting 50% women CEOs for the companies we invest in (compared to a national average of only 5% women CEOs). As Head of Community Engagement, I share our story and recruit/develop women to become CEOs and equity owners of the companies we invest in.
The investing knowledge I gained from Wall Street, combined with the storytelling from my author skillset, makes this a rewarding role. I'm excited to keep meeting and empowering more rock star women across West Michigan.
What can you tell us about your second book that's coming out soon?
It's called Double-Decker Dreams, and it's a contemporary novel set in London. (I wrote it while working in the UK!) A fictional story, it follows an American consultant (Kat), who dreams of falling in love with an English aristocrat and making partner at her firm. But the closer she gets to those goals, the more she realizes maybe those won't be the things to fulfill her after all.
Relatable women who are defining success in relationships and careers are at the center of my novels (so far!). Double-Decker Dreams publishes in June. I'll be having book tour events in New York, LA, and of course, West Michigan.
You've accomplished quite a lot in a short amount of time. What's your advice to other women who are looking to do the same and follow their dreams?
If you feel called to something, and it lights you up even if no one is watching, keep at it relentlessly. Put in unglamorous work, even when things aren't going your way. I poured my heart into writing four books that never got published and received hundreds of rejections from agents/publishers for many years. It would have been easy to give up. But I still felt pulled to write, and I still believed that I could get published, despite the odds. So I kept at it and finally landed an agent and two book deals through a big NYC publisher.
Believe in magic, but don't wait for it.
Anything additional you'd like to add?
I know how far away our dreams can feel, whether it's writing a book or running a business. I want to support you, so please don't hesitate to reach out. It's a joy to connect. [email protected].
Edited by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Apr/May '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Sonnevil.