Donna Avellana Künzler is the author of the award winning nonfiction novel, “The Overseas Fabulous Pinay: A modern Filipina’s handbook on how to thrive abroad.”
A Filipina who has been living abroad for almost 20 years, Donna thought of writing a book as a way to capture her colorful life overseas, make an impact and give back. She aims is to diversify the narrative of Filipinas living overseas, as well as to uplift their image. By sharing her personal experience and knowledge, she would like to empower women by making their transition to life abroad smoother and more meaningful.
She came up with the concept of an Overseas Fabulous Pinay: a Filipina based overseas who is confident, sophisticated, responsible, proud to be Filipino and makes the Philippines proud. She specifically chose the word “fabulous” because she wants to depict a strong and positive image of a Filipina. Her debut novel won the Gold Award in the Nonfiction Book Awards 2020 and was honored as a finalist in the Best Interior Design category of the International Book Awards 2020.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
Conscious entrepreneurship is venturing into a business with a cause. It comes with the awareness and most especially willingness, that the business will solve or support a wider social issue or problem.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Two years ago, I was fortunate to be selected as one of the mentees in my company’s mentorship program. I was assigned a mentor who is a C level executive. It could not have come in a more appropriate time as 2018 was a very difficult year for me — I did not get a promotion that I applied for and my mother also passed away that year. Having a mentor during that time really helped me a lot — not just to talk about my professional goals but my life goals in general. Our mentorship meetings although not structured, became an outlet for me to sound off my thoughts and also learn from my mentor who openly shared her experiences as well. Most importantly, she helped me answer the question, “What would you like to do?” This is her biggest impact on me which somehow targeted my inner desire to do greater good and to start making a difference outside my comfort zone. And with this in mind, it’s good to ask ourselves every now and then if what we are doing are still in line with what we really want to do.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
My book alone is a concrete manifestation of this. My main objective is for my readers to be successful in their overseas journey. In that whatever question, issue or problem they face, or whatever phase they may be in their overseas journey, that they are able to fill the knowledge gap or find the solution through my book.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
I have a couple of advocacies but right now, I’m actively working on a concept store that will feature Filipino products that are mostly social enterprises. I have a firm belief that our Filipino products are world class and have something special and unique to offer. This is something that I would like to share to the European market. And apart from selling the products, it’s also a way of giving back because the suppliers that I am connected with are supporting local communities in the Philippines in terms of employment and continuity of traditional Filipino craftsmanship. I’m really excited for this venture and fingers crossed it will be available in early 2021.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
Social, conscious or purposeful entrepreneurship is definitely going to be a main driver for entrepreneurs. It’s not enough to be able to provide goods and services, but it will become essential to have a social purpose.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
Although my concept store has not yet launched, I already consider myself an entrepreneur because of my author business. I don’t think it’s bad to want more out of life. If you have a goal that is not yet achieved, it’s natural to feel incomplete. And that’s how I feel at the moment. Just like with my book, I really want all Filipinos who are planning to move abroad or living abroad to have a copy of my book because I know that it will be useful. It’s not just about selling my book but really because I believe that it can make a positive difference. So until I reach a point where I can say, “yes, I have achieved my goal”, I will keep on trying.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.