An accidental entrepreneur. That’s how cofounder of retail company Blue Illusion, Donna Guest, describes herself. Being a business owner was not something that she envisioned when she married her husband and business partner, Danny Guest. Becoming a CEO of a company was not something she contemplated before they started the business 20 years ago. She came into the position when Danny passed away suddenly.
Losing a business partner is one thing. Losing a spouse is another matter. It was a double tragedy for Donna. Part of her life was gone.
In business, she suddenly became more responsible for the creative side of the venture. Negotiating contracts, overseeing leases, and transacting with banks were Danny’s responsibilities. Now Donna had to figure out these aspects of the business.
Donna turned to her executive team. This strong team quickly picked up the pieces and helped her run the company. Thankfully, Donna could rely on her friend of 30 years and the company’s people and culture manager. “While she was mourning as well because she was very close to Danny, she could nurture the rest of the team because I couldn’t,” Donna reflects.