Nothing is more important or challenging than parenting a child.
I spent the first part of my professional life as a 9-9 crazy busy writer and public policy director who checked my productivity meter dozens of time each day. Emphasis on the crazy. Decades of political speechwriting for state and national officials honed my skill for writing in someone else’s voice. Dozens of public speaking gigs for audiences from 20 – 2000 people taught me to stand straight and welcome in the butterflies. National and international writing assignments from upstate New York to Iceland to Dubai were a gift to release my take on topics from travel to relationships.
Then I traded-in that frantic life for the title “Mom”, my husband and I adopting a newborn in 1989. Parenting a child with serious emotional difficulties lead to a prize fighting title with the schools and communities that surrounded our family and a hard-won expertise in educational advocacy for children with disabilities. I published by first memoir, Mad Random: Claiming Life Out of Chaos in 2014.
I am a passionate storyteller, published writer, teacher and child advocate. I have contributed to national and international journals on wide-ranging topics such as family relationships, children with emotional disabilities, injury prevention and travel. I mentor entrepreneurial activists, helping to craft social and corporate messaging that brings new ideas to life. My insights and enthusiasm regularly ignite support for various parenting organizations. My work has stirred community action and kick-started cultural change.
I’m halfway through my second book, titled Stalking Grace, which deals with managing life’s losses and gifts. It will be published in 2018.
I earned a degree in political science and journalism and have followed those joint passions throughout my life. I’ve lobbied for health care specialties and not-for-profit organizations. I am a coach for not-for profit boards of directors, advocacy groups and women’s health issues. I teach memoir and nonfiction writing. I have raised more money for the arts than I can remember. I still show up if I can lend a hand for a cause that matters to me.
Donna’s credentials and other interesting things about her
- Graduated with a BA in Political Science from Drew University.
- Built an entrepreneurial business at age 25 to lobby the New York State Legislature and the United State Congress for children’s advocacy and mental health specialties.
- Authored dozens of consumer friendly health education and prevention journals during 25 years of public service.
- Served as primary Speechwriter/Policy Director for NY State First Lady Matilda Cuomo for 11 years.
- Co-wrote, with legislators and health advocates, first successful public place non-smoking legislation.
- Faculty member at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY.
- Served as President of the Albany Writer’s Guild and The Albany League of Arts.
- Served as an Executive Board Member for Wildwood School, a nationally recognized program for children with neurological disorders.
- Mentor/tutor for boys with emotional disabilities.
- Developed a life legacy and values protocol for adults in assisted living care to support intergenerational storytelling.
- Web-based writing coach for nonfiction writers and children’s policy advocates.