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Carroll School of Management Graduate Programs

Masters in Business Series featuring Fay Donohue

Fay Donohue with students

By Katharine Mohana, MBA '14

For the third installment of Lessons in Leadership, the Boston College Second Year Consultants (2YCs) ventured off their beaten paths to visit the DentaQuest corporate headquarters located on the Boston Harbor edge in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The team of 2YCs was privileged to spend over an hour with DentaQuest President and Chief Executive Officer Fay Donohue. Donohue has been a leader in the health care and dental benefits industries since 1975 and has served in her current role for the past seven years. She is a seasoned leader but possesses the energy and passion of a rookie.

As an alumna of the MBA Program of the Carroll School of Business, Donohue demonstrated her passion as she generously shared advice to the 2YC’s. Her advice can be distilled into these five points:

Be Curious: Be nosey and make yourself known. Getting to know what is happening across a company and who is who across in an organization will only prove helpful and contribute to success.

Say Yes: Understand the value and power of a “crooked path,” and get to know organizations by trying various roles and teams. Donohue contributed to every department of Blue Cross Blue Shield, where she worked for 18 years, and found the experience a great way to learn the industry and the company.

Engage: To be successful, you must not only engage with one organization but with the industry and the community as a whole.

People First: Spend time on people and understand the importance of investing in colleagues. 

Mind the CEO’s Role: Remember that CEOs spend a substantial amount of time relaying information and engaging with their board; find ways to contribute to that process to be valuable and impactful.

Faye was also eager to remind the 2YCs that pursuing money alone will ultimately lead to failure. There are aspects of Donohue’s job that “feed her soul,” and she is inspired and motivated by the DentaQuest staff.  Those aspects of her job foster success and allow her to lead a dynamic, fast-growing enterprise that benefits 20 million people every year.


Click below to read other entries in this series:

Read the first article, Lessons In Lessons in Leadership: Reflections on Management Practice II and the BC MBA Experience.

Read the second article, Masters in Business series featuring Richard Holbrook.

Read the third article, Masters in Business Series featuring Frank Carpenito.




Katharine Mohana is a full-time, second year MBA candidate focusing on Marketing and Information Analytics. She came to the Carroll School of Management from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she served in the Public Relations Department and oversaw the opening day of the Art of the Americas Wing. She also served as an MBA Summer Associate at Hasbro, Inc. last year. Katharine is excited about starting her post-MBA career in a marketing/brand management role.