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FunTimes Magazine

Donovan West

Focus on Passion and Purpose

Donavan West is a forward- thinking executive with a focus on social services and public affairs. With over 18 years’ experience in developing, creating, and envisioning systematic blueprints to manage community partnerships and workforce and development initiatives, he is an expert in relationship management and key principles that drive stakeholder interests.

Recognized for his leadership, passion, and infectious desire to promote positive outcomes; Donavan has built a reputation as a strategic planner, community developer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, relationship manager and mentor. Donavan continues to share his passion and subject matter expertise in various mediums from radio and TV, to speaking and commencement engagements at local universities

When interviewed by FunTimes, West made the following comments:

 Defining moments: When I was young, the majority of our family was in London or Jamaica, while my mother, brother and I were in the U.S. and struggling financially. My grandfather came here to help us find a place to live, and with the overall transition

This was significant for me because I saw a man that was getting older, and instead of slowing down, devoted his time, energy and talents to ensure we survived these turbulent times. He ensured that my brother and I went to church regularly, did our house chores, and worked with his carpentry and maintenance

I was fortunate to complete an internship on Capitol Hill for Senator Carol Moseley Braun while I attended George Mason University to take a Mock Trial and Moot Court.


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This internship helped shape me into the man I am today; it required more than 50 hours of my attention per week. That summer I learned a great deal about the legal and political landscape as well as how to manage my time and priorities in a way that, later, would benefit my stakeholders and I.

The most defining moment was when my daughter was born. Her birth ushered in a new era in life where it was no longer just about me but that I was responsible for the quality of her life. From that moment, I looked at the world differently and embraced another dimension of my purpose.

Significant accomplishment or project: Many years ago, I had a cleaning project at the Lincoln Financial Field. I was tasked with securing over 130 temporary staff to clean the stadium following every home game. I deliberately pursued people who were frowned upon due to their station in life. I identified them through area shelters and transitional resources. 


Advice to young people: I say to take inventory of your gifts, skills and education and what’s important. Identify your passion and purpose. If you don’t know your purpose yet, then focus on your passion. Think about the sectors of people in need, and which groups you can leverage so that your gifts and talents have most impact. Do what you do with love and compassion. The service is important but your love for the people will be infectious! That’s how a legacy begins.

Ways to build relationships within the African Diaspora: All groups need to get rid of the labels. They were created to anchor division among us. If we can understand that there aren’t separate parties to begin with, that would be an amazing first step. Origin means the original place. African Americans should seek to find their origin. Africans should seek to find their offspring. We both need to have an openness to learn and a desire to be accountable for wherever our learning takes us.