WHO I AM
My name is Ron Donovan, and I am a creative, a change agent, an entrepreneur, and more.
I am the product of the innumerable and diverse experiences, successes, and challenges I have had thus far in life.
I have truly done, at least, a little of a lot of things, and take great pleasure in using all that I have learned to help others manifest their best lives.
The common thread through all that I do is my intention of adding value for everyone I encounter, for the world as a whole.
Beyond my day-to-day interactions, the primary vehicles through which I do this are my entrepreneurial endeavors,
The Soul Strategist, my life performance coaching practice, and
The Shoemaker's Studio, my platform for sharing my skills as a craftsman and as a fashion industry entrepreneur.
Click the highlighted name of each venture to explore it more thoroughly, or continue below to discover more about my personal journey...
- I was born and raised in South Carolina and would describe myself as what some might call a "Renaissance Gentleman".
- My eclectic life was nurtured very early through my exposure to, and involvement with my faith community, diverse individuals, the performing arts, and athletics.
- Upon graduating from high school, I was accepted academically and attended The Georgia Institute of Technology.
- As a Freshman, I “walked on” to the university's NCAA Division I basketball team. My teammates included quite a number of notable eventual NBA players, John Salley, Mark Price, Yvonne Joseph, and Duane Ferrell to name a few.
- And as a member of the team, I had the opportunity to compete against many other great talents, including Michael Jordan, Len Bias, Johnny Dawkins, Kenny Smith and Spud Webb.
- While at Tech, I also pledged my beloved Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Georgia Tech Basketball
- After graduating from "Tech", I began a career in technical design and sales.
- Despite immediately thriving, I yielded to a burning desire for entrepreneurship. And soon left corporate in search of what I would come to call my “right livelihood”.
- My first business ventures produced nominal, if any, successes. But I was undeterred. Before long, my natural inclinations lead me to fashion industry. Here I found my stride.
- A perfect example of “necessity being the mother of invention”, I began focusing on shoe-making because of my inability to find stylish high-quality footwear for my size 15 ½ feet.
- This lead to the founding of my signature luxury lifestyle brand, RONDONOVAN.
- Now with over 25 years of experience, I continue to design and produce footwear, accessories, and apparel for RONDONOVAN, as well as for other prominent brands.
- I have also founded several other fashion related businesses. One of these is THESHOEMAKER'SSTUDIO, through which, I offer footwear and accessory making classes and related experiences.
- Along the way, I have been the director of couture for a prominent 7th Avenue couturier, was named an FGI Rising Star Finalist, and have taught shoemaking at several colleges and universities, including NYC's FIT, Parsons, and LIU.
The Cordwainer (Shoemaker)
FGI "Rising Star" Finalist
- Travel has always been and remains an integral part of my life and experiences.
- I lived abroad for a number of years in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and from my long-time home base of New York City, continue to spend considerable time traveling, particularly in The South of France and Italy.
- One of my greatest undertakings was walking The Camino De Santiago De Compostela (547 miles in 27 days) which begins in the South of France, crosses the Pyrenees Mountains, traverses across northern Spain, and ends in the town of Santiago, near the country's west coast.
- Along my journeys, I have been blessed to have experienced some of the most incredible people, places, and adventures. Each has provided unique and invaluable lessons.
Santiago de Compostela
A Test Of Faith
- Perhaps the greatest challenge of my life was being diagnosed with and conquering prostate cancer at a relatively young age. My life changed significantly from the surgery and ongoing treatments, but I am extremely grateful to be a survivor.
- While difficult at times, my faith is what helps me remain in gratitude and embrace the beautiful life that I have versus mourning the life I, at times, used to "think" I lost.
- My faith is a foundational aspect of my mindset along with logic and creativity. It is integral in all I achieve and transcend. This balanced mindset has been developed over time, and forged from many trials, tribulations, and blessings.
Becoming "The Strategist"
- In retrospect, it is now clear to me that I have been an "unofficial" guide and coach for much of my life.
- As long as I can remember, people of all ages, relations, and statures have come to me for direction, encouragement, and support.
- However, it was the suggestion of a trusted friend/advisor that made the thought of coaching a tangible pursuit.
- Once the fire was lit, I immediately got to work studying. I devoured any and all information I could find. I read books, researched articles and individuals, and listened to countless hours of messaging. I studied some the most successful coaches and evaluated their beliefs and approaches. I then compared what I discovered with whom I knew myself to be, the experiences I have had, my successes, strengths, gifts, challenges, and my failings.
- The more I looked, the more I realized that there was not only space for me, but a void that I am uniquely suited to fill. I then established TheSOULstrategist.
The Soul Strategist
- Over the years, I've been described in many ways, focused, confident, resilient, optimistic, caring, empathetic, gregarious, fun-loving, and a gentleman. People seem to also respect my transparency and handling of adversity. This said, I'm sure that some not-so-nice things have been warranted at times as well.
- I love the good things people see in me. They are who I strive daily to be. However, frankly, like most people, there are still times when I don't feel like "this guy", when doubt creeps in and I'm not quite so sure of my "higher" self.
- It is only with continual self-reflection, self-work, paradigm shifting, critical thinking, resounding faith, and outside support that I have developed strategies and processes that enable me to course correct pretty quickly, to get back to my most authentic self.
- Who, what, and where I am at any given moment can be tied directly to my experiences, and all they have taught me.
- One of my greatest blessings is that as I share with and guide others, I am continually evolving as a creative, a change agent, an entrepreneur, and global citizen.
I look forward to sharing with you the wisdom I'm continuously gleaning from this blessed life...
Ron Donovan, "The Soul Strategist"