Motherhood is beautiful: Meet Donna

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Donna Crafton Montgomery

Occupation: Marketing and Public Relations Pro

Mom to: Millicent, Eli and bonus-daughters, Vivian and Willa

Mover and shaker best describes this fireball of a woman. It’s full speed ahead no matter what project she touches. Donna is a seasoned public relations and marketing pro, who for the last twenty five years has worked for numerous big brands such as Donna Karan, Crocs, Sam's Club, Arrow Electronics and Kong. She’s currently the Managing Director at Look Listen. Though her professional accomplishments are numerous, it’s her generosity toward her community and her dedication to family that’s noteworthy.

Donna hails from Shelbyville, Indiana and sits in the middle of a family of five adopted siblings. Donna’s deep appreciation for family was passed down from her generous mother Patricia (Pat) and her father, Gerald, who couldn’t have children of their own. Her parents were so passionate about family and connectedness, they made it their mission to ensure Donna was introduced to her biological mother. Since Donna was a teenager, she and her biological mom Francine, have had a strong, consistent relationship.

Donna has volunteered her time to countless causes in the Denver metro area including New Genesis and Urban Peak where she has collectively helped raise over $10 million dollars over the past 20 years. Most recently she put her talents to work with at-risk girls at Girls, Inc. as they pursue scholarship opportunities for high school and college opportunities.

Twice divorced, she’s a beautiful example of making the best of blended family situations. As a close friend puts it, “when it comes to her kids, she doesn’t back down from challenges, she digs in however messy it is and does everything she can to show them their worth and share love generously.”

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How do you feel about women and aging? Ha! I think we all need to embrace it. What's the alternative? Pass along what you have learned and stay open to learning from those older and younger than you. It’s true that it's just a number. Embrace the journey and enjoy the small wins!

Best part about being a mama? Raising my kids has brought me back to my own childhood too many times to count. It's given me a new understanding and appreciation for my parents’ perspective during my youth. It’s enlightening to be able to see where my kids are coming from, but also seeing my parents in myself. If I'm half the parents they are, I've succeeded.

What does the “future is female” means to you? While the intentions behind the slogan are well-intended, the slogan itself actually feels anti-feminist to me. One problem with the slogan is that it eludes the distinction between sex and gender. Because of this, people who are pro-life or homophobic can endorse it without any apparent contradiction to their political views. The idea shouldn't be to position ourselves "against" men, but rather to be comfortable with our own opinions and positions. Doing new things takes a lot of energy and strength. It's very tiring to make things happen, to learn how to master a skill, to push fears aside. Most people would rather just go with the flow; it's much easier. But it's not very interesting and it limits us - as women, especially. Speak up!

Any particular thoughts on the MeToo movement? I hope we talk about culture as much as we talk about individuals, and recognize that while the Weinstein's of the world are extreme, the messages we learn about sex, power, courtship and consent, are deeply ingrained and start when we are young. It takes far more than a workplace sexual harassment training to unlearn.

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What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about parenting? It's hard and easy all at the same time!  Be consistent; mean what you say and say what you mean. Children who get mixed messages learn to question the validity of everything you do and say. This, in turn, encourages them to challenge your statements, as they need to know if you really mean it, this time.

Your thoughts on raising resilient kids? I think to raise resilient kids, you have to be a resilient parent. Resilience depends on an understanding that emotions — even those considered “negative,” like sadness, grief or anger — aren’t a problem to be fixed, but a natural consequence of being human. The thing about emotions is that they don’t last forever; there’s a beginning, middle and end to all of them.

Best advice your mom ever gave you? The best advice my mother ever gave me wasn’t ever said, but shown. She has an inquisitive mind, a love for her family and a keen sense of making everyone around her feel like they are the most important thing to her. She was ahead of her time in that she has a Master's degree, which was uncommon for her generation. She encouraged all of her children to pursue their education and dreams - even when those dreams scared her or should have been unrelatable. She was selfless and did it anyway. She exposed us to new foods, new experiences and always made sure we "tried" everything life had to offer.  To say she has had a huge impact on me would never do it justice and I thank her for that. She taught me how to be a devoted wife, mother and friend before all else.

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