Jenn Donahue

Jenn Donahue


Bend, Oregon, United States

Jenn Donahue PhD is a retired US Navy Captain and engineer who works on large scale, high profile engineering projects. Over her 27-year military career, Jenn has built a bridge across the Euphrates river in the midst of the Iraq war, commanded an 800-personnel Battalion in Afghanistan, and constructed combat outposts in the middle of deserts filled with insurgents. Jenn has led earthquake and tsunami reconnaissance missions in places like Samoa and Japan; designed the seismic plans for a bridge over the Panama Canal; and built roads in the coldest climes of Ketchikan. Along the way she mentored scores of young leaders. Today Jenn runs JL Donahue Engineering and lectures at UC Berkeley and UCLA.

Area of Expertise

  • Business & Management
  • Physical & Life Sciences


  • engineering leadership
  • Female Leadership
  • Emergent leadership
  • Authentic Leadership
  • Trust
  • Creating Team Trust in Dispersed Teams
  • Resiliency
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Executive Coaching
  • Lean / Agile Leadership
  • resilience
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Women in Leadership
  • Professional Development
  • personal development
  • Leadership
  • Women
  • Women in Agile
  • Women in Tech
  • Women Empowerment

Becoming a Great Leader in Today's Market

How is your leadership style working for you?

If you’re trying to be the same leader you were ten, five, or even three years ago, it’s likely not resonating with your team. We are still in the midst of the Great Resignation and your people aren't leaving for money, despite a looming recession. The real reason why employees are leaving is that they no longer have hope or trust in their boss, team, position, or company. They are looking to be valued, engaged, feel seen, and feel safe.

I’m here to teach the audience that they don’t have to lead like someone they are not. Instead, they can learn to lead in a way that is authentic to them and empowers their team. So how can leaders bridge the gap between what they think a great leader is and what their team actually needs to be led to greatness? I'll share the huge insights that that will transform your audience’s assumptions.

Debunking What Makes a Great Leader

What if what we think makes a great leader is all wrong? When you ask people to think of leadership qualities, they tend to choose words like bold, powerful, and fearless. But if you ask people to name traits of the leaders they would like to emulate and/or follow; you get a different list. In fact, from my research, bold, powerful, and fearless don't break anywhere near the top of the list. So, you have to ask yourself, are you trying to adapt the traits you think will make you a great leader or do you want to cultivate the qualities that people are looking for in a leader they want to follow?

Based on my last couple of years of research across many demographics, I've compiled a list of qualities others look for in leaders. My message is that because you already possess the traits to be a great leader, you can unleash the power to do great things. These past couple of years have presented the world with many challenges that I think we can overcome with strong, genuine leadership. Revolutions and significant changes always start with an individual. We all have a role to play and becoming a genuine leader is the start.

Becoming the Warrior: Strategies to Break Through and Prosper

You’re stuck. We all have passion-fueled dreams that may seem too bold or too risky. We strive and are continually challenged to meet our goals, either the goals of our organization, or the goals we set in our personal life.

However, we often feel that our goals and dreams are out of reach, that we are not ready, we don’t have the time, or maybe we’re just not good enough.
In this 45-minute keynote, Jenn Donahue exposes the reasons you’re not moving forward. Many of us struggle with imposter syndrome, self-doubt, the fear of failing, and roadblocks. Jenn has too, many times while leading on the battlefield and in the boardroom.

With her five-step method, developed through scientific research and personal experiences, she provides the audience the keys to moving forward into their potential. Her story-driven approach underscores the importance of believing in yourself, and what’s needed to reach your unattainable dreams.

Are you ready to do great things?

Tech Con '21 Sessionize Event

October 2021

iSAQB Software Architecture Gathering 2021 Sessionize Event

October 2021

WiA - Launching New Voices - Agile2021 Sessionize Event

July 2021

W4TT Anfitrionas Hablemos de tecnología Sessionize Event

June 2021

Jenn Donahue


Bend, Oregon, United States

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