Lindsay Rechler is a NYC-based mom of two, a Managing Director at a global investment bank and most recently, a published author. Her first book, Good Morning Zoom, came about while explaining the pandemic to her young kids and was featured in the New York Post and The Kelly Clarkson Show. Her second one, When Will They Leave, looked at the pandemic from her dogs eyes. She’s working on a third, and we were thrilled to chat with her about this awesome pandemic project, the wonderful charities she is supporting and more.
Can you please share a little bit about yourself?
I am a native New Yorker. I grew up on Long Island and went to Cornell University for undergrad. Shortly after graduating, I took a job at a global investment bank in Manhattan. Through a coworker, I was introduced to my now husband Zack and we have two children, Jack (age 5 and a half) and Kenzie (almost 4). We are avid New York Islander fans and are still coping with their playoff loss (especially Jack). In a non-COVID world, we enjoy spending our leisure time attending music festivals (although we are getting pretty old for Lollapalooza), a Springsteen show (I stopped counting, but I think I have seen him 60+ times in concert) or any NY sporting event. Zack knows how to throw a good tailgate.
You’ve been working at the same investment bank for almost 15 years. Can you please tell us a bit about your career?
I began my employment at Jefferies immediately after college, and my role there has evolved over time. I am currently the Chief Administrative Officer. I manage a large team, many of whom are women and mothers. I oversee departments such as Corporate Events, Real Estate, Procurement, Travel + Expense and Facilities. There have been many highlights over the years. From meeting with some of the world’s most influential economists, to sitting on New York’s first Super Bowl planning committee, to helping envision and plan our future work environment – each day is different and exciting. However, the greatest highlight continues to be the relationships I have built with colleagues over the years. When I first wrote Good Morning Zoom, I had shown the story to a handful of coworkers and they were the motivating force behind my getting the book published. I work at a firm where the leaders truly care – care about each person and their individual successes. I grew up at Jefferies and was given the opportunity to create my own path. Now, my focus is to create an entrepreneurial path for those on my team and Jefferies is extremely supportive of that. They can be successful working at an investment bank, while having a family and maintaining hobbies and interests. They can even become an author on the side.
Love that. Were you surprised by the success of the books?
Surprised is a good word. I was motivated to put the story out there to raise money for COVID-19 relief. I felt that if my kids could relate to the story, maybe some other parents could also use it as a tool to explain the global pandemic to their family. I did not expect to end up in the NY Post or be a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show. All that said, I could not be more proud of the book and I think that even as we move towards some normalcy, the book captured a moment in time that we will never forget.
What was the “aha” moment where you created Good Morning Zoom?
I wrote the initial version of the book in a short sitting, while sleep deprived and creating a project with my children. Like most children, they are extremely inquisitive and persisted in asking questions regarding why we weren’t seeing grandma and papa and why they only saw their friends on the laptop. When I came up with the concept of the mom not changing from her pajamas “mom in her top she’s been wearing nonstop” I knew I had hit upon something all families were going through. The last verse “Good morning room, good morning Zoom, good morning world, we’ll see you soon” gave me and my family hope for a bright light in the future and I think that was a poignant part of the story that made children feel that the future had hope.
So awesome. Can you please tell me about When Will They Leave?
My mom and I both love dogs and after writing Good Morning Zoom, we were talking about the sometimes forgotten voice in the pandemic – our pets! Most people probably assume that our pets are lucky since they now have us home all the time, but we took a different twist. What if they really felt emotionally exhausted and were thinking “when will they leave?” I self-published the book in an effort to raise money for Muddy Paws Rescue and it was a fun collaborative project for us to work on. Plus, when my mom’s cockapoo Norman ended up with a feature in the NY Post, he felt pretty good about himself. Maybe now he’ll appreciate us a bit more!
What was it like writing these books with your mom and were your kids involved as well?
Collaborating with my mom was a great experience, although we did most of it over Zoom. We definitely embraced the new technology and even found an artist located across the country. My children helped inspire us to write When Will They Leave. The picture of Norman in a dress is the reality he faces each time my daughter Kenzie stops by my mom’s house. Norman lives a very quiet life with my parents and when he sees my children arrive at his house, he is on high alert. He knows there will be more scraps of food to find on the floor, but he also does not appreciate the competition. Both Jack and Kenzie enjoy playing with Norman and they are all very protective of each other. The book represents Norman’s perspective of his life during this time period.
How is Norman doing now that lockdown is over?!
I think Norman regrets asking the question “When will they leave?” Now, every time my mom opens the garage he runs to the door with a toy in hope that he can lure her back inside. Also, post-lockdown means even more visits and sleepovers with Jack and Kenzie. That translates into more dress-up parties, more accidental hair pulls, and slightly less attention from my mom. Like everything, change is hard, but hopefully he will also enjoy adventures outside the house as the rest of us do. He has gotten so attached to my mom that we think he may have recently faked a paw injury to keep her at home.
Aww so cute! You’ve given proceeds from these books to charity—why was that so important to you?
The charity component was the motivating factor in writing these books. When we were quarantining at home during the height of COVID-19, our essential workers were outside risking their lives to keep us safe. We will be forever grateful for their heroic efforts. During this period of time, I felt somewhat helpless at home as we heard the sirens outside our door. While we cheered the heroism of our essential workers with the rest of our fellow New Yorkers, I wanted my family to find another way to demonstrate our appreciation and that was by donating the proceeds of the book to very worthy organizations. STRIVE, No Kid Hungry and Project CURE, are three unique organizations that provide different kinds of Covid-19 relief during these critical times. Their missions inspired me and I felt that they covered diverse charitable needs. I look forward to working in-person, with my kids in tow, with these wonderful organizations in the very near future.
Besides the creation of these wonderful books, what are your “COVID silver linings”?
I truly appreciate the time at home that I was able to spend with my family. I could never have imagined being successful in my finance career while facilitating remote learning for a 3 and a 4 year old and then writing some books on the side. I remember back in March 2020, my husband and I created a poster called “Rechler Family School” and we made a very intense schedule that included 30 minute periods of obstacle courses, a cooking lesson, art project and dance party. We muddled through home-schooling and home-working and even added some pandemic themed songs as staples to our daily background music. At one point we played the James Taylor song “Going to Carolina” for the kids. As each day felt like groundhogs day, we would sing about going to Carolina in my mind. Now, Jack and Kenzie keep asking when we are taking a family trip to the Carolinas. Living through the pandemic has taught us that being there for our children, friends and community and not sweating the small stuff are what’s important.
Such a wonderful perspective. What’s next?!
I am working on a new book! This one is not COVID related. It is about a mom and her shoes and I cannot wait to share it.
To learn more about Lindsay and her books, follow her at @Lindsay Rechler.