A One-Woman Show:Jill Donahue Has Built A Successful Public Relations Agency on Newbury Street

By Cary Shuman

Jill Donahue took over a decade to get to the field of public relations but her clients are sure glad she got there.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but I always liked the wellness industry,” recalled Donahue, principal of JD Consulting on Newbury Street. “Who doesn’t love a good spa day?” she jokes.

After studying business management at Endicott College in Beverly and medical esthetics at the Catherine Hinds Institute in Woburn, Donahue began opening franchises for companies including Sleek Med Spa, Elizabeth Grady in the Financial District, and Elements Therapeutic Massage.

Donahue acquired a wide perspective of business over a span of ten years working for multiple franchise investors. Her responsibilities included everything from, build-outs, operations, management, human resources and sales, to marketing, events, public relations, and more.

“That experience allowed me to see which aspects of business I most liked – and it was, without a doubt, public relations,” said Donahue.

In 2008, Donahue made a decision to launch her own business and is happy to note, “I’ve been managing the public relations, inclusive of marketing, advertising, and events, for JD Consulting ever since. I get to do what I love every day and I couldn’t be happier.”

“Jill is capable, knowledgeable and hard working,” said Lisa Swanson, former president of Fitness Together and Elements Therapeutic Massage.

“I don’t have to outsource,” said Donahue. “I design the web sites. I create the marketing materials and ads. I plan the events. So I have acquired all of these capabilities and that’s what sets my client experience apart from agencies who often have multiple points of contact or have to regularly outsource. I learned from the ground up during my ten years running franchises and I still constantly learn in order to be able to offer my clients the most effective solutions.”

JD Consulting’s noteworthy Boston-area client portfolio includes Beacon Point Development, Commonwealth Fireplace, Shawn Black Photography, The Boatonian and The Bustonian, Skin Deep Med Spa, Philip Ciampa Salons, and many more. In addition to small businesses, two of her larger clients include Inq-ITS, an NGSS-aligned online Inquiry Intelligent Tutoring System for middle school students that has received over $10M in funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, and Omni Navitas, a comprehensive asset manager and developer concentrating on the acquisition, construction, operation, and sale of renewable energy assets worldwide.

“As the single mom of an only daughter” said Donahue, “I want to be a good example of turning what you love to do into a successful career. I think instilling a business-sense in any child at a young age is beneficial for them and would hate to see future generations feel that their only option is to get stuck in a 9-5 rut verses creating their own future, on their own terms, and based on what they love and excel in.”

Donahue is also setting that example for other young people in business.

“I love mentoring up and coming driven go-getters who are confident and capable. I like seeing anyone succeed, but the people I admire most are the men or women who have worked hard to get where they are, like my dad did.”

She enjoys having her offices in the heart of the Back Bay.

“I’m here, I’m in the middle of  the city, and as much as I love the shops and restaurants, I don’t usually have time to enjoy all Boston has to offer as much as I’d like,” said Donahue. “I work 24/7. My clients know they can call, text, or email me all hours of the morning, day, and night and I’ll be available. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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