Name: Donna Hughes

Location: Kingston, Ontario

Education: University of Bath, United Kingdom; Queen’s University, Canada


How did you determine what you wanted to study in college?

Great question! Ever since I could spell the word “business”, I dreamt of launching my own company. I was truly fascinated with business from an early age and was delighted to have the opportunity to study Business Management at university.

Walk us through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first full-time role.

My first full-time role, as an Office Administrator, bridged the gap between the end of my college education and the beginning of my university education. It was my first insight into the core functions of a SME and the daily operations of an office.

How did you go from that first role to your current role—what was that journey like for you?

At university, I pursued a “sandwich course” which featured two six-month work placements across two different industries; the banking sector and the energy sector. Subsequently, after graduating, I began the graduate scheme of one of the organizations I had previously worked at during my sandwich placement. Fast forward through a decade of roles held in Finance, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and a relocation from Europe to North America, and I plunged into the entrepreneurial pool!

What advice do you have for young women who want to get into your current industry/profession?

Take the time to nurture a support network that engages, challenges, and empowers you.

What has been your biggest career “hurdle” and what did you learn from it?

Recognizing your worth, and then having the courage to step forth and advocate for your worth. It’s important that you take the time to advocate for yourself, as well as others. In the words of the truly inspirational Maya Angelou “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?

Whilst I don’t have an official “mentor”, I’m fortunate enough to have built a support network of incredible, empowering and inspiring women that offer ongoing support and encouragement.

What does collaboration over competition mean to you?

Collaboration is centered around nurturing sustainable relationships with your stakeholders, underpinned by trust, integrity and open communication. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that people, and organizations, embrace opportunities for collaboration over competition in order to generate sustainable, long term value.

Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education and career goals?

I’m truly passionate about challenging the stereotypes surrounding what negotiation is and what a negotiator looks like. Often, many of us don’t see ourselves as negotiators, because we don’t resonate with the conventional media portrayal of a “negotiator”. Whether you realize it or not, you are a negotiator, and you negotiate every single day. It’s essential that you take the time to reflect upon the wealth of opportunities available to you within your life to negotiate. Only by embracing negotiation, within both your personal and professional life, can you make sure that you don’t leave any value on the table! Empower yourself, and others, to embrace opportunities for negotiation within your life.

If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?

I would love to connect with the incredible members of the Strategy Girl community! Please get in touch via Instagram @launchneg, email, or through our website