Donna was born in Dubai to Mediterranean parents of Lebanese, Egyptian, Italian, and Greek origins. At the age of six, her family fled war in Lebanon and ultimately landed in Montreal, Canada, as war refugees. Several years later, against the odds, they won the U.S. Green Card Lottery and moved to Massachusetts (the lottery still exists!). Donna holds citizenships in the U.S., Canada, and Lebanon, and is fluent in English, French, and Arabic.
Some of Donna's other passions include travel (visited over 30 countries across five continents!), comedy, cheese (unofficial addiction), start-ups, and social entrepreneurship.
Donna Khalife’s experience spans both the business and creative worlds. Donna completed her MBA at Harvard with a focus on Entrepreneurship and has dual Bachelor degrees in Finance and International Relations from Boston University. She began her career in Investment Banking in 2005, working as an Analyst in J.P. Morgan's Mergers and Acquisitions Group in New York. She was later promoted to Associate despite the firm's downsizing at the onset of the subprime mortgage crisis.
During her time on Wall Street, Donna advised clients on a multitude of key strategic transactions, including the GM/Chrysler government bailout, the $10 billion merger of Dex Media and R.H. Donnelley, and the multi-billion dollar sale of The Weather Channel and weather.com. As author of "The Best Book on Investment Banking Careers", Donna provides an insider’s look and shares career advice with those interested in joining the exciting world of corporate finance.
After completing her MBA, Donna rejected the enticing job offers and bought a one-way ticket to Hollywood to reconnect with her creative side. As an actor, Donna has performed sketch comedy and improv at various theaters in Hollywood.
Donna is currently founder and CEO of one of the fastest growing start-ups in DC, Surprise Ride, a service devoted to fostering curiosity and creativity in kids. The company has received numerous accolades from parenting experts and was most notably selected from a pool of 35,000 applicants to be featured on ABC's hit show Shark Tank.