Local Leader Guides Women to Economic Success
Linda Donaldson is a leader among Minnesota business women. More than 40 years ago, after graduating college with a degree in business, she became the first female security analyst in the trust department at Northwestern Bank. It was then that Linda became interested in the economic development of the Twin Cities, and specifically the role that women played. She continued her graduate studies in finance and in 1981 formed a partnership to build Brighton Development Corporation, a venture devoted to providing housing for people of all income levels.
Not long after launching the business, Linda’s passion for serving the community became evident as she took on two unique opportunities in the not-for-profit sector. In 1982 she joined the board of directors for the Women’s Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) and was part of the original team that recognized the importance of combining forces with another nonprofit also dedicated to women’s success–CHART. Linda provided her expertise, helped guide the process, and was part of the history-making merger as WEDCO and CHART became WomenVenture. At the same time she was helping manage project financing for a Minnesota-based affordable housing provider, Community Housing Development Commission (CHDC), which was founded by her business partner.
While on the WomenVenture board Linda began advocating for the development of a conference to elevate awareness for the organization and the services it provided. She had been a mentor for many years and knew instinctively that women would welcome the opportunity to gather together for a day of learning and meaningful discussions about a variety of relevant topics. Two other founding board members agreed, but the event was an unusual idea for that time, and not a priority. After three years of revisiting the concept, the conference (now the WomenVenture Fall Event) was launched in 1995. Since then, thousands have gathered for the annual celebration honoring women that has featured such notable speakers as Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem and Connie Chung.
A long-time supporter of WomenVenture, Linda went on to chair or serve on several board committees including the annual conference committee. When asked what inspired her continued commitment she explained, “I truly support women who are trying to become economically successful and break through barriers.” With the guidance of leaders like Linda, WomenVenture has provided more than 100,000 women with tools and resources to become prosperous.
This year Linda will be recognized at the WomenVenture Fall Event on October 12 at The Depot, and will speak about her experience as a community activist, an entrepreneur and a pioneer.
“We are thrilled to honor Linda Donaldson for her unwavering support of WomenVenture over the past three decades,” said Colleen Willhite, acting president. “She continues to be an inspiration to women everywhere.”
2012 WomenVenture Fall Event
The fundraising luncheon, presented by Wells Fargo, will feature keynote speaker and Minnesota native Thia Breen, President of North America for Estée Lauder Companies. An awards ceremony will recognize the accomplishments of two local women-owned businesses, and a special marketplace will feature products and services from local businesses and WomenVenture entrepreneurial clients.
Date: Friday, October 12, 2012
Time: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. – Shopping & Networking in the Marketplace; 12:00 p.m. – Lunch, Awards, Program; 1:30 p.m. – Shopping & Networking in the Marketplace)
Location: The Depot – Minneapolis
Tickets: Individual tickets: $140; Tables of 10: $1,400
Event registration is now closed.