Member Spotlight

Donnica Hawes-Saunders

Donnica Hawes-Saunders

Manager, Alcohol Policy and Government Affairs, Heineken USA

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Favorite DC Restaurant: Filomena Ristorante

Fun Fact: My husband and I own 3 guinea pigs who are social media stars (thousands of followers on Instagram, Facebook, etc) and have won local media awards. Their names are Lilly, Bo, & Peep.

About Donnica: When I first moved to Washington D.C., I started volunteering at a political national membership association – that’s where I caught the political bug. I eventually networked my way onto Capitol Hill and spent four years there before heading to HEINEKEN USA to work on legislative strategy and promote brand reputation. In my free time, I “Apple TV and chill,” workout, and travel. I love living and working in Washington, D.C.  – there is always something happening (especially in the summer!), plenty of routes for biking and running, and so many smart, interesting people dedicated to making the world a better place.

What attracted you to WGR and how has it helped you personally & professionally?
I would repeatedly run into WGR members at professional events around D.C. and they spoke very highly of the organization. These discussions prompted me to want to join and learn more. I am still a new member, but I have already experienced the caliber of the network that WGR provides. I look forward to continuing to engage with their policy programs and events to expand my network, make new friends, and grow professionally.

What advice do you have for young women entering the field?
Never underestimate the value of hard work. Also, its cliché, but network, network, network and do it in a meaningful way. Relationships and trust are essential, so finding ways to authentically connect with people is a great skill to learn early.

What was your original career plan and how did you end up in government relations?
I originally wanted to become a commercial litigation lawyer and went to law school to pursue that path. After my first year of law school, I realized that I wanted to change course, but still pursue a career that allowed me to engage with law and policy. After law school, I moved to Washington D.C. because I knew there were many opportunities for individuals who wanted to engage with law, but not practice. After four years on Capitol Hill, I started looking for post-Hill opportunities and landed in my current government affairs role.

What inspires you?
My family - the dedication, love, and support my family provides motivates and encourages me to always want to excel.