Staff Writer – The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature
Lawyer Danna Donald has succeeded in the high-level infrastructure world. She is a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and her expertise includes construction, project finance, P3 (public-private partnerships) and alternative financing contracts.
Donald began her law career working for Osler in the firm’s corporate/financial services group, acquiring her first project finance experience. Over time, as more of her practice focused on this field, she transitioned to the company’s national construction and infrastructure practice. “Getting the loan in place to build a project is very important but making sure it works with the unique features of a project, and a project’s construction schedule is equally important,” she said. “It was a challenge at first being the only woman in the room most of the time.”
“I find it very satisfying to help a client get financing for a project. Every day, whether I’m driving on a major highway, driving by a hospital or other institutional building. I can say I helped arrange the financing to get this building off of the ground.” Donald believes all lawyers, male or female, must prove their knowledge and negotiating skills. A lawyer also needs the ability to stand facing a group of professionals and express opinions, sometimes defying tradition, to make the case.
Donald believes it is important for women in the industry to seek connections with other women. This is one reason she is a founding member and executive committee member of the Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN).
WIN grew from a breakfast group of about 20 women who connected at an annual conference about five years ago to include a list of almost 300 professionals across the country. WIN provides networking opportunities and professional development for women working in all infrastructure areas.
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