About Chris & Donna

We are a husband-and-wife team with a unique perspective. At the office, we sit on opposite sides of the table, yet at home we’re on the same side working together to manage an active family of three teenagers, two dogs, a cat and demanding careers.

We’ve led global sales and procurement organizations at some of the largest companies in the world, including Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, HP, EDS and Accenture. We’ve structured hundreds of deals and created billion-dollar relationships.

Our dinner conversations are filled with insightful (and sometimes funny) stories about buying and selling—the good, bad and—unfortunately—the ugly. We’ve come to understand the behaviors that either build or erode trust, and the actions that will enable a deal or prevent one from happening.

Our divergent experiences as wife/husband, buyer/seller, Russian/American, and a doer (that’s Donna)/a dreamer (that’s Chris) have pushed us to create a convergent formula for getting people, organizations and companies to work together more successfully.

We are sharing our ideas, strategies and lessons learned with the hope that others will benefit. We aim to significantly improve the way business gets done while elevating the perception of the sales and procurement professions.

Seems a little too ambitious? Yeah, maybe—and that’s why we need your help. If our mission has sparked your interest, learn how to join in.

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About Donna (as told by Chris)

Donna was born and raised in Moscow by a single mom. Although she grew up under strict rules in the Soviet Union, Donna saw obstacles as stepping stones as she excelled in and out of school.   With a gift for languages and acting, Donna worked as a childhood actress to help her family survive. Smart, curious, and with the knack for solving problems and connecting things, she focused on making a difference for others;  first as a translator helping orphan children find homes with English-speaking families, then as the leader of the first-ever Russian teen delegation to the United Nations.

Determined to see the world, Donna earned a scholarship to Franklin & Marshall College in the United States.  Two things deeply impacted Donna’s life in college: meeting her father for the first time, who happened to be one of Russia’s most famous rock stars; and being the victim of a car accident, causing her to think even harder about life, fate and the power of optimism.

After college graduation, Donna studied Japanese through Middlebury College, then was selected for the prestigious Leadership Development Program at Cigna. Dee also earning her MBA from Temple University in Philadelphia. Through her exposure to various corporate functions, Donna chose to pursue a career in Sourcing & Procurementfirst at Cigna, and then at Pfizer, Zoetis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and currently American Express.  As the vice president in charge of strategic sourcing & business enablement at American Express, Donna leads a global team of sourcing professionals accountable for procuring more than billions in goods and services each year.  

Donna loves music, singing and dancing. She is an amateur yogi, aspiring cook and experienced SCUBA diver. She is also addicted to audible, podcasts and a foodie.  A passionate advocate for the advancement of women, Donna is committed to changing the profession of procurement & sourcing to be more inclusive.

Family, friends and colleagues describe Donna as one of the most optimistic, resourceful and inspiring people they know. They credit her with courage for improving her circumstances, bringing others along, while remaining the warm, humble and genuine person she has always been.

About Chris (as told by Donna)

Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Chris is the third of four children to Peggy and Tony Donato, a homemaker and an accountant turned successful entrepreneurs, working side by side for over 20 years together.  Chris was passionate about sports (a bit more than sitting in the classroom). His competitive spirit and athletic skills earned him two Division I athletic scholarships at La Salle Universitybasketball and track & field.   

A born optimist and extrovert, Chris has been passionate about sales since the 3rd grade.  Then it was door-to-door in his neighborhood peddling Russell Stover candies, magazine subscriptions, or his brother’s pet-sitting and lawn-mowing services.  As a middle-class, little-league-playing, resourceful kid, he never passed up an opportunity to raise money for someone (or something) in need. Chris believes selling is about serving others and solving problems and, when done right, it leads to a good outcome for everyone.  

After a brief stint running his own company, Chris realized he had a lot to learn.  He joined the leading enterprise services company EDS to learn world-class operations.  A selling career that started with selling magazine subscriptions as a kid turned into selling mega-deals worth billions of dollars for some of the largest companies in the world including Hewlett Packard, Accenture and DXC Technology (the merger between CSC and HP).

Chris remains a strong advocate for the sales profession. He believes in the positive impact that sales professionals can make in business and the world. Having learned business ethics from his parents and his wife, Chris strives each day to put into practice a set of core valuesauthenticity, collaboration, innovation, resourcefulness and resilienceto move deals and people forward.

Chris believes so strongly in his chosen profession that he is partnering with like-minded sales professionals to inspire the next generation of sales talent, and move the profession forward.

Family, friends and colleagues describe Chris as authentic, thoughtful, hard-working, resourceful and passionate. He is hands on dad and Family Rock (his “Donato Diner” breaksfast is family’s favorite). He is a loyal Philadelphia Eagles fan, a true advocate for the underdog and an impressive connector of people and ideas.

The views expressed are personal and do not represent the opinions or positions of Donna’s employer.

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The views expressed by Donna (Dee) Donato do not represent the opinions or positions of American Express.

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