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5526 Peach Street • Erie, PA • 16509 • 814-864-4984 •

Donna Reese is a busy woman. As if raising two boys doesn’t sound hectic enough, Reese owned and operated two businesses with her former husband, Jim— The Cookie Mug and General Exterminating, a four-generation Erie business. She is actively involved with local politics and serves as a counselor and mentor for other entrepreneurs interested in business.

What is your greatest accomplishment in life?

My boys! My greatest accomplishment has been the opportunity to raise two boys, Ryan and Shane, who have grown up into intelligent young men and they’re best friends. How often can a parent really say that?

It wasn’t easy. As a single mother, our life was more hectic than most. Juggling two businesses, General Exterminating and The Cookie Mug, as well as transporting two boys involved with travel hockey, just made it seem that we were always on the go. Along the way, we rolled with the punches. I couldn’t be happier with where it’s landed us today.

Do you do any work with or give back to the Erie community?

Giving back is what makes me tick. I am active in the public eye in a variety of ways. Politically, I’m involved with the Millcreek School Board and helping State Representative Ryan Bizzaro with various fundraisers. The list of non-profits Reese work with goes on and on: City Mission, Big Brother Big Sisters, and Erie Homes for Children and Adults, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — to name a few. One thing is for sure, I never turn down an opportunity to give back.

When did you reach your turning point personally or professionally?

The turning point for Reese both personally and professionally came in 2008, after someone suggested that she apply for the Athena Powerlink program, a business mentoring program designed to increase the growth and profitability of women owned businesses. Floodgates opened and everything began to change after that. Business really got better, and personally, my life took a fantastic new journey. This opportunity benefited me in a variety of ways, and I am so thankful for all the people that took the time to mentor me. I have always promised to pay it forward. I do that now as a counselor for SCORE and as a mentor for entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their own business. At the conclusion of her Athena year, Donna took over as the head of the Erie Small Business Alliance, a local networking organization dedicated to helping others grow their sales and businesses.

What is your motto or everyday philosophy?

Ask. Believe. Receive.

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