Born and raised in the USA, Donna gained her first degree in music and philosophy at Yale University. On moving to the UK, she was awarded MBA and PhD degrees at Cranfield University and subsequently a Masters in Environmental Philosophy at Lancaster. She has worked at a number of UK-based Universities including Cranfield University, Exeter University, and Plymouth University as well as holding a close affiliation with the University of Bath’s Center for Action Research in Professional Practice. More recently she has been a core faculty member on Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership and Change based in the USA, where she designed and led a professional qualification in Leading for Racial Justice.
She has published six books as well as articles in internationally-recognized academic journals, including being lead author for an article recognized as one of the five most influential articles of the decade 2010-2020 within The Leadership Quarterly: “Enacting the ‘true self’: Towards a theory of embodied authentic leadership”, Leadership Quarterly, 2010 21(1), pp. 64-74 which she co-authored with Dr. Steven Taylor.
Her academic career has been paralleled by consulting and coaching to both public sector and commercial organizations including BT, the UK’s National Audit Office, Sony, Brita Water and London’s Quadrant Housing Association. Additionally, she is a sought-after Keynote speaker, with recent engagements including the International Leadership Association’s annual meeting in West Palm Beach Florida in 2018, the Ohio State’s Leadership Team Conference in Ohio in 2018, and the International Studying Leadership Conference at the University of Sussex in 2022.
She is currently supervising doctoral candidates in the areas of African American leadership approaches, how leaders create meaningful connections with their communities, and how leaders within educational settings create culturally responsive organizational cultures.
Listen to Donna's recent engagement on Phronesis, Podcast of the International Leadership Association: Beyond Whiteness in Leadership Theorizing (with Cherie Bridge Patrick and Marion McGee) (2022).