You may have heard me share that GIFTS come in all shapes and sizes. They can be tangible, and then some are they cannot be touched physically).
Donna Bender, CAS, is the President /CMO of The Donna Bender Company, a Branded Marketing, Corporate Gifting, and Promotional Strategy Company. Donna is a natural-born GIVE-ologist™ and approaches business differently. She has proven that you can build a Meaningful, Fun, and Profitable business by GIVING, with no strings attached.
Her specialties include Chief GIVE-ologist™, Branded Marketing Expert, Gifting Strategist, Creator and host of the online video series "What’s Your Expertise?", Public Speaker, and Creative Consultant .
Donna truly believes that her 25+ years in the Fashion Industry as VP of Merchandising at Calvin Klein, Director of Sales and Marketing at Salvatore Ferragamo, and Consultant in Childrenswear Licensing for Eddie Bauer, New Balance, Laura Ashley, and the MLB has been a gift. She has worked with Celebrities and Royalty, seeing firsthand how to build brands by creating long-lasting business relationships. The relationships Donna built throughout her fashion career gave her the necessary “shot” to launch and witness the unveiling of her own Children’s Apparel line in Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and other fine major retailers around the country.
Donna moved from NYC to Dallas seventeen years ago, not knowing anyone (except her daughter and her boyfriend). She soon found that circumstances changed from originally planned, and she had to start looking for a new job. Donna was introduced to the Promotional Products Industry and started working for a large distributorship at that time, Harvey Daco.
In 2007, Donna started her own company. It was a struggle those initial four years, and in 2011, she signed on to become an Affiliate with iPROMOTEu. Donna has witnessed and shared about the positive changes that have been made for Affiliates, with the biggest changes she has seen over the last several years…… the plethora of tools they have developed to support an Affiliate’s business.
Donna has met some of her dearest friends while being an iPROMOTEu Affiliate. She often shares the story about her first breakfast at PPAI in Las Vegas in 2011, where she spotted a woman chatting with Ross on the opposite side of the room at Mandalay Bay. A few moments later, she was standing next to that same woman on the buffet line and turned to her (without skipping a beat) and said, “You are someone I could become friends with!”—that woman was Ellen Orne, and they have been the dearest of friends ever since.
Donna has been a Certified Member of Women’s Business Enterprise for fourteen years, where she was nominated to receive the Women’s Business Council Southwest’s WBE RISING STAR AWARD and WBE ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR. She has received the LILLIE KNOX INVESTING FOR GROWTH AWARD and was awarded WOMEN’S BUSINESS ENTERPRISE OF THE YEAR by the Women’s Business Council Southwest.
Donna is very involved in her community and served as Director of the Women’s Division for The Plano Chamber of Commerce for two of the six years she served on the Board. She has also served on the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association Collin County Heart Ball, the Host Committee for the Communities Foundation of Texas: Putting STEM to Work, and the Host Committee for the Plano Symphony Gala. Donna is a proud graduate of Leadership Plano, Class 35.
She has been a Consultant and Volunteer: at Heart House Dallas, Mentor: of the Business Associates Program (BAP) at SMU Cox School of Business; Contributor to the Pilot Program for SMU’s Marketing Internship for Small Businesses; Professional Advisory Council for The School of Fashion & Retail Management at the Art Institute of Dallas and Program Co-chair, Member Benefits Committee Chair, and Board Member of The Fashion Group International. Donna has led workshops and speaking engagements for the Avon Corporation, Yale University, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, UPS, and Exxon Mobil. She has been a Guest Lecturer at SMU’s Cox School of Business, Wade College, Texas Tech, the Art Institute of Dallas, and the University of North Texas.
With COVID changing the last several years of doing business, as usual, Donna found other avenues of reaching an audience. She has dedicated her time to creating workshops and a four-part course and is finishing her book on the importance of implementing a customized "Giving Plan to Increase Your Business."
You can frequently find Donna in the mornings on Clubhouse speaking about all things Branding, Messaging, and Marketing, where she is educating a new community on the differences between “Gifts vs. Giveaways.” She has been a featured Guest on several podcasts and various online Entrepreneur Summits, passionately sharing her proven Gifting Strategy with Business Executives and Entrepreneurs to increase their business by GIVING!
In her leisure time, Donna, and her fiancé Dave, also a GIVE-ologist™ by nature, enjoy traveling, theater, art, classic movies, and searching for mid-century modern collectibles.
Donna is very proud of her newly married daughter Tess, a National Accounts Manager for Bella Canvas, recently recognized by SAAGNY 40 Under 40, celebrating young professionals in the Promotional Products Industry.