Donatella Benckenstein

January 7, 2009 8:13:39 AM PST
Donatella was born in the Netherlands to U.S. diplomatic parents. She has lived in eight countries and is fluent in five languages. She studied in Paris at the Sorbonne and catholic institute. She joined Disneyland Paris as an interpreter during negotiations, and ended up running its marketing public relations and special events departments, before resigning to concentrate on raising her son, Alistair.

Donatella and her family moved to Houston in 1997. Her interest in the arts, travel, and international affairs initiated her support of the Houston Grand Opera, Asia Society Texas and Texan French Alliance for the Arts. She was also drawn to medical causes including the Baylor partnership, among others.

Among her volunteer activities, in 2001, Donatella and her husband, Fred, chaired the Asia Society Texas' Tiger Ball. She has also co-chaired Huffington Center on Aging's "Women's Health Summit," the Texan French Alliance for the Arts' inaugural gala, and the Seniors' Place's 10th anniversary luncheon. Donatella is co-chairing the Open Door Mission luncheon this November.

Donatella has a pioneering spirit that does not shy away from new challenges. Despite her busy schedule, she always puts family and friends first and believes her happiness is founded on the happiness she brings to others.

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