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FunTimes Magazine

Donna L. Allie, PhD

Donna L. Allie, PhD, launched the Team Clean, Inc. company in the mid-1980s as the solopreneur president/CEO; she has grown the company to over seven hundred employees. As company president, Allie’s client list includes government, education, industry, professional offices, and sports, events, and entertainment venues such as Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Best and worst decision?
“The best: to own and operate my own business. The worst: only owning one business.”

Dream job as a child?
“I majored in vocational rehabilitation in college, and planned to go an engineering school in California. I have a passion for people, so being able to do something socially responsible—like helping someone who can’t walk and giving them a device so that they can walk— something that I really wanted to do.”

Barriers to female leadership?
“Not thinking big enough. The women’s movement is reemerging at the right time, but we need to think more in leadership terms. At a recent conference of women business leaders, women from other countries were talking $500 million and one billion dollars…thinking big. I know we can too.”

Who inspires you?
“There are many, but my mother [Beatrice Hayes, 84] inspired me the most. She told me to pick it up, keep stepping and that there is a God saying you can do this. She doesn’t have a college degree and she didn’t push me to go to college, but she was the rock who told me, ‘You have got to do this and show them because you have God with you—in every Board meeting, at every corner you turn, and with every decision that you make.’ She inspired me to keep going. She never put me on a pedestal and always kept me humble.”

Challenges for the next Generation?
“I don’t really see much of a challenge. This generation has everything. The small challenge is access to capital, but now they have micro-lending angel funds and crowd funding. The only thing I would say is that as ladies, we must stick together. The older ones like me have to reach back and pull up the younger ones so far I have mentored four women-owner cleaning companies in my industry.”