Ep. 53: One Chapter at a Time
Brandy Donaldson was born and raised in rural northeast Arkansas. During her formative years, she developed a love for literature and writing. Brandy was around 11 years old when she decided she wanted to be a newspaper woman. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arkansas State University and a master’s degree in communications management from Webster University.
After starting her journalism career in southern Missouri, Brandy moved to western Illinois (the Quad-Cities) in 2007. Brandy was an award-winning newspaper reporter for seven years. In 2012, her career transitioned into corporate communications management.
Brandy began her journey into social advocacy and activism shortly after moving to Illinois. Her volunteerism has included Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley, the Rock Island County NAACP, The African American Leadership Society (Quad Cities), Dress for Success, Young Professionals of the Quad Cities, the Q2030 Regional Action Plan, The QC Empowerment Network, The Chemo Care Package Project, which she created, the Palomares Social Justice Center and African American Lesbian Professionals Having a Say (ALPHAS), which she co-founded. Brandy also serves on the Illinois Council on Women and Girls and the Equality Illinois Advisory Council.
Brandy’s professional awards include a first-place award in the category of “Best News Story Series” from the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association for a series she wrote on the refugee immigrant population in Rock Island, Illinois. In the same award series, she also won third-place in the “General Feature Story” category for a feature on the start of civil union licenses being offered in Illinois. She also received a “Best In-Depth News Story” third-place award from the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association for her political news report regarding Illinois’ gerrymandered 17th Congressional District entitled “Mapmaking headache.” She was the lead reporter on an investigative report entitled “Jobs Down, Payroll Up” that received a first-place award in investigative reporting from Suburban Newspapers of America.