Special/Signature Issues » 2017 Top 40 Under 40

2017 Top 40 Under 40: Sarah Milston, 39

Founder, the Spark Mill

Chances are high that you’ve come into contact with one of Sarah Milston’s clients – such is the range of her consulting firm, the Spark Mill. Think: Lamplighter Coffee, Studio 23, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond. It sounds like a greatest-hits list for the city, right?

As Milston’s role model Ruth Bader Ginsburg likes to say, “If you are going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.”

But Milston doesn’t want to just lead a members-only club of high flyers. She knows that Richmond also will grow by supporting outfits that aren’t prominent. In September, she published a pro bono manifesto, which says her company will work with at least one pro bono client per month. This year, the Spark Mill has served eight pro bono clients, including a campus ministry center and a support group for the medical community.

“I measure my success as a consultant and partner by the success of my clients,” says Milston, whose team has tripled in size since 2013. “When they transform and grow and make the world a better place than they found it, those are my proudest moments.”