Meet Whitney Donaldson, a strategist with multiple creative outlets. Whitney is one of our newest Heart+Minders who joined our team this year and is already up to her elbows in strategy work as a Strategy Manager. She took some time out to answer our most pressing need-to-know questions for our Q+A.
Q: Describe what you do in 5 words or less.
A: Putting the puzzle pieces together.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a strategist?
A: In grad school. I studied brand management and one of my first semseter courses made me want to switch to the Strategic Communication emphasis. That was when I decided to pursue a strategy career in the agency world. I stepped away for a few years doing client side marketing work, but along the way I realized I wanted to get back to strategy, understanding the influence of culture and what makes people tick in order to do more good, meaningful work.
Q: If you weren’t a strategist, you’d be a…
A: A floral designer. There is something magical about arranging a new creation while also appreciating the individual beauty of each stem. And I’d want to create a hybrid flower shop-café.
Q: What drew you to Heart+Mind Strategies?
A: I was intrigued by the company’s point of view and the fact that research and strategy were so tightly integrated. In past positions, we weren’t able to fully understand our audiences or their motivations (lack of time or funds), so it was refreshing to read about the human-centered approach. I wanted that to be vital to my work.
Q: You’re secretly really good at…
A: Baking most things. I can almost always get something right on the first try, even at altitude. Some of my favorite things to bake are no-knead bread (thanks NYT), birthday cakes, and chocolate chip cookies.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Lately, it’s been exploring. Hiking in the forest, driving to new places, walking different routes. I’m always up for new scenery and fresh experiences.
Q: What’s your favorite genre of music to work to?
A: It’s really hard for me to work to music. I get too distracted by the lyrics!
Q: What is one thing about yourself that would surprise people?
A: I speak French! I lived in France for four years and needed it to get by (la creche, la poste, le medicin, le plombier). These days, I need it to watch shows like Lupin and Call My Agent.
Q: What fandoms are you loyal to?
A: Harry Potter. Through high school and college, my sister and I would head to Barnes and Noble for the release parties. And then stay up all night reading as much as we could. She always beat me to the last page.
Q: In your opinion, does pineapple belong on pizza?
A: Indeed it does. I love a Hawaiian pizza–ham and pineapple are a good pair. And sometimes, I’ll throw in some veggies, like green pepper or onion.
Q: What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked?
A: Ça va?
Q: What is the answer?
A: Ça va.
Thanks Whitney for giving us some insights into how your mind works and the choices you make.