Donnica Hawes-Saunders has built her career on a solid reputation as an authentic, courageous, and impactful change agent. Throughout her journey as an award-winning executive, lobbyist, lawyer, social impact strategist and keynote speaker, Donnica has transformed public and community service into a professional art form, positively impacting the lives of communities and people. Donnica’s corporate career has included developing and overseeing global and U.S. public affairs outreach and external communication engagements for some of the most famous highly regulated industries in the world. She has developed federal legislative strategy resulting in millions of dollars of excise tax relief and built social impact partnerships that elevate brand reputation and authenticity. While on Capitol Hill, Donnica drafted and advanced legislation including bills to improve responses to victims of child sex trafficking (P.L. 114-22) and established amendment language in the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Report designating a historically black college (HBCU) as an 1890 Land Grant University, thereby increasing access to federal funds. Before working in the U.S. Congress, Donnica established a legal background through a unique combination of corporate law, litigation, negotiation, and persuasive communication training. She was a federal law clerk in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and for the 165th Harris County Civil District Court of Houston. She also represented clients at the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile and Child Support Division, and worked at Sebaly, Shillito & Dyer in the commercial litigation department focused on bankruptcy law in Dayton, Ohio. Donnica is a published author on topics around corporate culture, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as a keynote speaker in the U.S. and globally. She has been awarded “Yahoo Finance EMpower 100 Global Future Leaders & Top 20 Highest Achieving Changemakers” for her strategy, execution, and advocacy in global corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion; is an Executive Leadership Council Fellow for her work opening channels of opportunity for Black executives to positively impact business and communities; and named one of the Top Lobbyists and Influencers in D.C. by Lawyers of Color magazine. Donnica received the PRISM International Corporate Diversity Impact Award for creating and institutionalizing HBCU programming at a large multi-national organization and was nominated and awarded membership in the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), a network of global elected officials and policy experts. She currently serves on the board of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, a historic performing arts venue in Washington, D.C., is on the Influencer Council of Running Start, an organization that trains young women to run for political office, and is an Ambassador for the Network of Executive Women (NEW) and the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture (NAAMHC). Donnica holds a J. D. from the University of Dayton School of Law, and received a B.A., magna cum laude, in Sociology and Anthropology from Spelman College.
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Gender Equity: A Recap of Women’s History Month 2023

by Donnica Hawes-Saunders