Many of you know me as the owner of Bella Donna's Bistro and Patisserie, where I spend much of my time making desserts and pastries to delight our customers. Others may know me as a friendly patron of other small businesses in Forest Grove and surrounding areas, usually looking to shop local. My road to get to this point in my life is as unique as the community I look to serve.
Raised on a farm in rural Washington County, I learned the importance of hard work at a very young age. Collecting eggs, cleaning the barn, pulling weeds, these were daily parts of my childhood that created incredible memories as well as an understanding of "country life".
As a teenager, I got a job at a large health care organization. This was the beginning of a near 30-year career working for this same organization. By the end of this chapter of my life, I had worked my way up through managerial roles and into an executive program management position. My success was due in large part to lessons I learned throughout my tenure: integrity, compassion, empathy, honesty, humility, and sticking to your guns when necessary. Those skills allowed me to continue my career in program management with other multi-million dollar organizations as well.
As an owner of a small business, I look to implement many of the lessons from corporate life as well as the farm lessons from my childhood. We have built a strong culture of trust and teamwork, where all employees and owners work together for a common goal. No job is above or below any employee, whether it's cleaning a toilet, washing dishes, greeting customers or bringing in a new recipe suggestion. We empower our employees to make decisions and do more than what is asked, and they continuously rise to the occasion. I couldn't be more proud of their growth and development as employees, and are always impressed with what a wonderful team we have. That culture is important to me. It not only makes the workplace more enjoyable, but leads to far better productivity as well.
Forest Grove is a unique community. Part farming community but at the edge of a metropolis. Part college town but with plenty of industry. Part lake town but also in wine country. The challenges that face this community are as unique as we, the community members are. I'm Donna Gustafson, and I feel that my background uniquely qualifies me to represent this community by serving on the City Council.