Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Donna Bostic

By KMA - 06.15.2012

Infectious laugh. Smiling eyes. Consummate professional. Soulful spirit. Signature dreads.
Generous heart.

The KMA family is saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and colleague, Donna Bostic.  Anyone who had the good fortune to work with Donna – as a trainer, colleague or author – knew firsthand her enthusiasm and joie de vivre.  She met challenges with a smile and exuberance, and met people in the same way.  Donna added to our team and to each of us individually.

We will build a “Best of Bostic” album on our Facebook page and encourage you to email your photos to

Donna leaves behind two beloved daughters, two beloved grandchildren , a beloved sister and brother along with a host of other relations.

Having known Donna, we are confident she would want us to celebrate her life.  Let’s take a moment to do that.  We each have Donna stories to share; we invite you to add a comment to this post.

Lastly, expressions of love and memories of can be shared with her family at

On behalf of Donna’s family, thank you for honoring her in such a beautiful way.

21 Responses so far

I like the story from the SHRM conference when one guy passing our Corporate Tribalism display made an off-handed comment about “being against Corporate Tribalism.” That was enough to set Donna in motion. She engaged/corralled him about 20 feet away and kept him there for a good ten minutes–later saying she “loved the challenge.

My favorite is Donna imitating Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movie talking about the “bimp” on his forehead. She could do a British accent, and we would laugh so hard.

I have such a fond memory of Donna and our time together in California with a group of trainees who started as 12 angry white men and ended the day hugging us at the parking lot.

I have known Donna for over 15 years and have at least 1500 memories. But my favorite is hearing her tell the story of when she was told to inform her training class to “take the shuttle bus” to the other building after the session. The next day she found out the bus was reported as stolen because the driver couldn’t find it. Apparently when her students finished, they found the shuttle bus empty but the keys were in it (the driver had gone to the bathroom) and one of them said “the instructor told us to take the shuttle bus” – so they took it! Donna laughed her unmistakable laugh and thought “I never expected them to take me literally – they just TOOK the shuttle bus!”

It was a privilege to know and work with such a wonderful person in the LA area. I’m glad our paths crossed as it evokes many sweet memories.
Dajia shenti jian kang (body good health everybody)

Donna made work fun. I feel so lucky to have shared two recent work trips with her. Drumming up sales on a convention floor can make for a very long day, but Donna’s cheery attitude and sense of humor made the time pass quickly. On our off hours, we took on adventures – exploring antique shops and out-of-the-way cafes in New Orleans, and making hilarious new friends at the blackjack tables in Vegas. We shared stories about our families, work experiences and passions. Donna has been a bright, beautiful light in my life. Her grace, warmth and “okey dokey” stay with me.

I really enjoyed working with Donna, at times, we made fun of each other with much love. She and her family will be in my prayers. I learned a lot from her in the short times we had together in Arizona and our get together in Chicago.

This is very sad indeed. I remember Donna from the Boeing extravaganza meeting in Chicago and having spent time with her there. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to work with her. She had mentioned her daughter several times. I pray that God gives her daughter and her family the strength to bear such an unexpected loss. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

I am very sorry for everyone’s loss. I never had a chance to work with Donna other than in our group events, where I enjoyed her humor and her style. My family and I will keep everyone in our prayers.

One of my fondest memories is watching Donna sing “La Vie Boheme” from Rent with my son and daughter during a boat ride in San Diego. What a beautiful voice. What a beautiful person. I will miss her very much.

La Vie Boheme Donna, La Vie Boheme!

Donna and I conducted workshops together and she was a joy on so many levels. I am simply shocked at her passing so early. Her spirit will live on as we address inequalities, injustices and other forms of oppression in the coming years.

Donna, you are missed. Donna, you are loved. Donna, may your spirit soar and shed light onto to us all.

With deepest respect, Andrea “tess” Arenas, Phd

My favorite memory of Donna came when she was in DC to work a conference with me this past October. We had worked all day and were incredibly tired, but Donna wanted to make the most of her time in DC. She had never seen the sights and really wanted to. We shared a very nice dinner and then did a midnight tour of the national monuments. She took them all in with delight and made them fun for me too. I will miss her, her positive attitude and the wonderful way in which she encouraged everyone around her.

Big thanks to KMA and all of the wonderful people who posted and continue to post their rememberances of my beautiful sister, Donna Bostic. She was the kindest person I knew and the most giving. She truly loved the work she did and she had a gift of bringing people together and establishing a dialogue that will continue to send positive ripples with everyone she came in contact with. The picture that KMA has posted brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it….it so represents her. I cannot thank all of you enough. The void that she has left in our lives cannot be fully expressed. We will always carry her spirit within us.

Geez, I still feel like this isn’t true. I’m back from a couple of presentations, and I think I should call Donna, see how she’s doin, and see what our plan is. My eyes are burning as I even write this. I miss you, my friend.

My memories of Donna go all the way back to LA High. We had the thrill of working together at First Interstate Bank then running into each other from time to time via ASTD. She was always a joy. Her warmth, smile, great sense of humor never varied. She has left our circle too soon. She has left us all the better for having known her.

Like many of you, I too, had the honor of working with Donna a few years back. She was a warm & radiant light who always greeted me with a huge smile and a long hug. We shared many good times together. Whenever the pathways of our work landed us in the same city at the same time we would reconnect by spending hours laughing, talking and exploring whatever city we happened to be in. We covered some good ground together! Donna was a smart and savvy Sistah who knew her soul’s purpose and had the courage to live from it. The manner in which I heard of her passing was so serendipitous that all I could do as the tears welled in my eyes was to say “Thank you, Gurl, for letting me know.Happy life after everlasting life.”

Donna always talked about her family. She adorded each of them. She had an amazing smile and laugh. She loved people and has left a lasting impression on my life. I will miss catching up with her each month. Much love to her famly in this time of sadness.

This is my first time visiting this blog and hearing of Donna and I’m very sorry for her loss. From the comment’s I have read she seemed like a very outgoing and nice person. I pray for her family that they find comfort and remember their loving mother.

My heart was warmly touched today as while I was searching the web today I came across this tremendous tribute to my sister Donna Bostic.

Being her brother was a delight but I also had the privilege to train with her once. Donna loved her kids but she also loved to train. A “natural” as they say. As Executive Director of Leadership Long Beach I asked Donna to co-train with me on our “Diversity” module a few years back. Donna used a wonderful image of a suspension bridge as her opening slide. “Building Bridges Across Differences” was her title. The image along was a leaning as the bridge cables were dramatically all working together, the same but different, carrying the load, bridging the gap. I thought my portion of the training bombed! It was comforting to be able to lean on my little sis to bail me out. I can still clearly hear the words of my Program Director who was giving me the results of the evaluation as professionally and politely as he could. “Well Peter…they liked your sister”!!!!!!!

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.
Peter Bostic

What a tragic loss for all of us and anyone ever being in contact with Donna. I am devastated to hear of her death. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her daughters, grandchildren, Dawn and Peter. Donna was a confidant and friend. We met in the early nineties, while I was employed as the Director of Diversity at The Travelers Insurance Companies. Donna facilitated a series of workshops for the company’s apprehensive executives. Of course Donna mesmerized the execs and we became friends for life. We traveled together to the Caribbean Island of St. Marten and kept in touch on occasion over the years. Today I was considering applying for a VP of Diversity position, but have not kept up with trends and specialized programs. So I went online to contact my friend, the diversity expert, to find she has died, but left a great legacy of learning. Binky, Dawn and Peter, what a gift she’s given to our lives. Thank you for sharing Donna with us. She will be missed.

I met Donna at First Interstate Bank. It was a Thanksgiving Eve and both of us worked late for lack of anything else better to do. We did not know each other very well at that time but this discussion sealed it for us.

I told her that I was going to visit a friend in Oakland and I was a bit unsettled by that because she was Black and well… lived in Oakland. I just did not know what to expect. Her response was, “Oh my, you’re going to have something that Alfred (her ex) said I never had: a Black experience.” Donna was someone that you could talk to frankly – no filters.

Of course her sense of humor is what everyone remembers. We reconnected in November 2011 when she came up to the Bay Area. Her brother Peter was able to come and visit her here also and by meeting Peter, I had met her entire immediate family.

I think of her almost daily because we adopted a dog the weekend of her visit. Donna. I just found this site and will come visit it often to reflect on the wonders of Donna.

Love you Donna!

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