Step into the world of Donna Gliha, a TEC Canada member, and a true embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit. Her journey is a testament to effective leadership, determination, and excellence.
Donna has ascended to the presidency of not one but two remarkable companies—The Sales Group and The Finance Group. She defies convention, leaves a lasting mark on industries, and shapes the entrepreneurial landscape.
From Accounting to Staffing
Donna’s professional career began in accounting, focusing on balance sheets, audits, and financial analysis. However, at the age of 25, she made a career pivot toward the staffing sector. In just 3.5 years, she played a key role in boosting a finance staffing firm’s annual revenue from $1 million to $37.5 million. Her exceptional contributions led to her becoming an equity partner in just two years.
Her ambition didn’t stop there. Donna went on to establish her staffing company, specializing in full-time sales placements. She orchestrated the expansion of a second staffing firm, increasing its top-line revenue from $128 million to an impressive $249 million over seven years, securing 88 enterprise deals along the way.
“I enjoyed finding somebody for the job that was the right fit and putting it all together. It was exciting to me. It was a complete thrill. I found it easy, really easy and I could replicate it, so I just kept replicating.”
From Childhood Entrepreneur to President
Donna’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident from a young age. “As a child, I used to work on business plans while my friends were playing with Barbies.” Today, as the President of The Sales Group and The Finance Group, Donna’s journey showcases not only her abilities but also her unique approach to leadership and effective business management. “I’ve done every role. I definitely show up with the experience that I’ve done it and the willingness to do it again if I need to.”
“I don’t think there are many headaches that come from running a business if you do a good job running your business. You need to give other people freedom and choice. Once everyone is engaged, the business and the culture will follow.”
She believes that to run a business efficiently, you need to empower your team, granting them the autonomy to make their own decisions. “[If you try to take on too much and manage all aspects of business] it’s impossible. It’s stressful. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
Donna underscores the importance of people within a business, attributing her success to recruiting the right individuals and actively developing their talent.
Throughout her career, Donna has drawn inspiration from invaluable mentors, including the owners of a staffing firm and an engineering company. Her “MBA in a Box” experience in the staffing firm played a pivotal role in her understanding of scaling a business.
The Sales Group and The Finance Group
Dorothy Zubel, Business Partner
In her organization, The Sales Group, Donna has developed a team of seasoned sales professionals who work alongside their clients to develop net new opportunities through targeted data, messaging, and outreach.
The Sales Group prioritizes its core values of STAIR: Self-Directed, Trust, Accountability, Integrity, Respect.
“We don’t have any turnover. We have one of our groups that hasn’t had a person turnover in three and a half years.”
In her co-owned venture The Finance Group, with business partner Dorothy Zubel, the company has seen remarkable growth, growing to a team of 30 in just under a year. The organization provides highly qualified and experienced finance professionals to organizations in need on a fractional and flexible basis.
The Sales Group and The Finance Group are both female-owned and female-led organizations that support the development and career growth of women in business. Both organizations have cultivated teams of ambitious professionals committed to each company’s growth goals.
A Lifelong Commitment to Growth
Donna’s relationship with TEC Canada began in 2021 when her first company, The Sales Group, had 20 employees. By Fall 2023, it had expanded to nearly 100 employees across two organizations. It was during this period of rapid growth that prompted Donna to actively pursue a mentor and a support network, leading her to TEC Chair Lindsay McMurray. His talent for posing challenging and thought-provoking questions and holding Donna accountable really resonated, aligning with her dedication to growth and her own philosophy to business. “Lindsay’s coaching style encourages deep critical thinking and drives me to make the necessary adjustments to keep the businesses moving forward.”
Donna’s belief in Lindsay and her peer advisory group has been instrumental to her development. So much so, that 4 members of her leadership team are also involved with TEC.
“I’m living my best life because of TEC.”
“The one-page business plan that we all undertake in our TEC group, is our one-page strategic plan for the upcoming year. You identify your strategic initiatives and your action items against each of those and list where the revenue will go. This keeps me on point to think about where these businesses are and where they’re going. And to align everybody internally for that. I absolutely love it.”
Donna emphasizes the importance of remaining a constant learner, and open to new ideas and approaches. She actively seeks fresh perspectives and innovative strategies to enhance her businesses. “[Lots of businesses stick with] doing the same thing every year. And I like to take something that is mostly working and every once in a while, just dump it on its head.”
“All companies should have a line item on their budget for learning and development. If you’re not helping your people grow, they’re going to leave. The good ones will leave, and your business will stay flat.”
Donna ensures she keeps growing, and is an avid reader, proclaiming to read at least one business book each week. In addition to her TEC involvement, Donna is part of the Verity Club, a women’s professional networking club in downtown Toronto.
Donna’s future is exciting, with ambitious plans to launch her third company in 2024 based on her replicable playbook she has meticulously crafted over time. Her systematic approach, aligned teams, and relentless pursuit of her vision will continue to drive her endeavors forward. “I think if you have the right systematic processes in place, the engine is going, you just let it run.”
Transforming Challenges into Triumphs
Donna’s story is a testament to her audacity to question, hunger for learning, and choice of the right allies. Her journey resonates with the idea that success is a collective effort, fueled by shared knowledge and support. As you reflect on Donna’s journey, remember your capacity to transform challenges into opportunities, turn dreams into realities, and redefine what’s possible.
The Sales Group is comprised of an inspired team of talented salespeople who work to help business owners drive revenue for their organizations. They align their tailored business development services with the overall sales goals of each individual client to become an integral partner in helping them scale and expand their businesses.
The Finance Group provides fractional finance services to clients across North America. The highly qualified and experienced finance professionals at TFG specialize in providing part-time CFO, Controller, Payroll, Bookkeeping and Systems Migration and Implementation services.
Donna Gliha, President of The Sales Group and The Finance Group, is among 1,900+ TEC members across Canada. What’s holding you back? Take the first step to becoming a TEC member today by filling out the short form below.