Alumna Donna Maione at the July Milano Alumni Ambassadors Retreat
Alumna Donna Maione at the July Milano Alumni Ambassadors Retreat

Alumna Donna Maione (OCM ’15) has been a Milano Alumni Ambassador since she graduated. Donna is a Change Management Consultant focused on sustainability, closed loop design, and the circular economy with more than 20 years developing and designing creative process improvements in the apparel sector as well as designing clothing for national brands. In her current position as a sustainable development advisor to the Executive Director of Brick by Brick Partners, an NGO improving the health and education of rural communities in Uganda, Donna is developing and implementing strategy and policy. Previously, Donna was a Senior Designer for more than a decade at Nine West Holdings. We caught up with Donna after July’s Alumni Ambassador retreat and she shared some of her insights with us.

Why do you love Milano?

  • At Milano I was able to focus on my own interest within the context of each course. The faculty was supportive in helping me clarify where I might make the greatest impact. I love Milano for the diverse and multi-disciplinary faculty and students. My time at Milano allowed me to study in order to better understand world issues and to reflect on this next chapter in my life, and how I want to engage with it.

Why would you recommend Milano to others?

  • I recommend Milano to others I meet all the time! When I find a passionate emerging professional, who in seeking meaning in their work either through social or environmental impact, I recommend Milano and share my experience at Milano.  I believe that Milano is a great place to challenge your assumptions and to work and study alongside others interested in making a change for good.

While you were a student, what’s something you wish someone would have told you?

  • If you are not finding internships in your specific area of interest, create your own, be resourceful, and ask for help from others in the specific field you are targeting.

Favorite place to travel?

  • My favorite place to travel is Italy. This is in part because my grandfather, whom I have never had the chance to meet, was born there. I always imagine a life so different from mine; a bit of nostalgia will always bring me back.  The simplicity of southern Italian cuisine, the beautiful art, and architecture also make my heart beat just a bit faster.

Favorite class when you were here?

  • My favorite class at Milano was “Building the Client-Consultant Relationship.” I took this class during my first semester and it really shifted my thinking on how best to get results with clients (or any coworker). Focusing on the relationship before the results was not the typical method of achieving deliverables in my previous line of work in fashion design. I highly recommend this class.