Donaldson Worked As A Lawyer Representing Fortune 500 Companies & Was A Harvard Graduate
Chris-Tia Donaldson, Founder and CEO of TGIN, Thank God Its Natural Haircare Products, Dies
Before Donaldson founded TGIN, she was a lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, according to her TGIN bio. Her focus was on technology and open-source code, guiding businesses through complex transactions, the bio said.
Prior to starting her own company, Chris-Tia represented Fortune 500 companies in complex business transactions involving technology and open source code, her bio says. Chris-Tia earned her A.B. in Economics from Harvard University with high honors, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Her she worked as Senior Corporate Counsel for Oracle Corporation for more than 10 years. She got her start in her law career in 2003 as an associate for Sidley Austin, then worked as an associate for Jenner & Block, the page says. She founded TGIN 15 years ago in 2006 and left her position as senior counsel in 2017, the page says.
Tgin Founder Discusses Breast Cancer Diagnosis
BlackDoctor.org: I remember running into you often at LA Fitness years ago and I know your health is something that you take very seriously.
Was the possibility of breast cancer something that was on your radar?
Chris-Tia Donaldson: Absolutely not. There is no history of breast cancer in my family.
I was also just 36 at the time of my diagnosis. When I thought of breast cancer, I thought of people like Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Joan Lunden, Suzanne Sommers and Christina Applegate.
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I never gave much consideration that this was something that could happen to me.
Breast Cancer Self Exam
BDO: How did your diagnosis come about? Did you discover something abnormal during a self-exam?
CD: I was actually taking a shower and noticed it then. Initially, I thought it was hormonal-related. I had a cyst removed from my breast in my 20s.
Given my age and the fact that I felt perfectly healthy, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind.
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Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Uner 40 2016
“Black girl magic is real,” says Chris-Tia Donaldson, founder of Thank God I’m Natural, a hair care company based in Chicago’s Kinzie Industrial Corridor. She’s referring to #blackgirlmagic, a catchphrase that went viral this year on social media, magazine covers and TV shows as a way to spotlight outstanding African-American women in arts, beauty, sports, business and science.
“When people ask me how I manage to juggle Oracle and run a company, I tell them black girl magic,” she says. “When they ask me how I grew the company to over $1 million with no outside investment, I tell them black girl magic. Black women have been through so much, and we’re still standing.”
2016 has been nothing less than magical for the 37-year-old, whose natural hair care line will be in more than 3,000 stores, including Target and Sally Beauty Supply, by year-end. She drove toward this goal while working full time at Oracle and fighting stage 2 breast cancer. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma took her mother’s life a month after Donaldson’s graduation from high school. “I think the experience made me resilient,” she says. “Someone told me I’m like a rose that grows out of concrete.”
Donaldsons Niece Described Her As A Leader & A Visionary& a Force To Be Reckoned With
Singleton announced Donaldsons death with poise, describing the character of her aunt and a determination to carry on her legacy in the video announcing her death.
It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our founder and CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson on the evening of Saturday, November 13. TGIN and the TGIN foundation has lost a leader and a visionary and the world has lost a selfless and beautiful human being. Chris-Tia lived a life of service and was a force to be reckoned with inside and outside of the beauty community. Through her passion and purpose she redefined beauty and created a community of women empowerment teaching us the importance of advocating for ourselves especially our health. The entire TGIN family mourns the tremendous loss. No words can adequately express that sadness or the love we have for her.
Singleton went on to say that Donaldsons legacy would continue through the company she founded.
Well miss you Chris-Tia, Singleton wrote in a caption on the video. Heaven gained its sweetest angel back. We appreciate everyone for the outpouring of love and support for Chris-Tia, and ask that you keep us in your prayers.
Her followers responded to the announcement with sadness and support.
I am so sorry to hear this. Heartbroken, one person wrote. Chris-Tia was so awesome. My goodness. My most sincere condolences.
Sending my deepest prayers and condolences to you she will be missed, wrote another follower.
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How Tgin Founder And Breast Cancer Survivor Chris
Today in the guest chair we have Chris-Tia Donaldson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thank God Its Natural , a manufacturer of natural hair and skincare products.
Prior to starting tgin, Chris-Tia, a two-time Harvard graduate, worked at a top law firm in Chicago. It was there she realized that she wasnt receiving the support she needed to advance in her career. She wasnt willing to play the game anymore, so she decided to get out and create her own game.
Like many of us, Chris-Tia struggled with her hair while navigating the corporate world. There werent a lot of products for kinky, curly, and wavy hair, so she set out to create a product that made her feel confident about her curls.
Tgin is now currently sold at Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Sallys Beauty, Walgreens, and now Ulta.
Chris-Tia is so transparent in this episode, especially when it comes to the money required to scale and maintain a business. Im excited for you to hear!
The Tgin Foundation Supports Uninsured Women Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
Founder & CEO Chris -Tia Donaldson is a breast cancer survivor. Shes made it the TGIN Foundations mission is to support uninsured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer #blackhaircare#blackowned#haircare#TGIN#beauty
Donaldsons breast cancer fight prompted her to found the TGIN Foundation to help women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and who do not have health insurance.
The tgin Foundations mission is to support uninsured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, highlight the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes, and stress the importance of early detection for women under the age of 40, the organizations website says.
The page says African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer.
In the city of Chicago, black women are 42% more likely to die from breast cancer than the general population, the page says. Despite the recent decline in breast cancer mortality within the United States, African American women continue to die from breast cancer at higher rates than women of other races. *Poverty continues to be the primary social factor underlying health disparities.
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What Advice Do You Have For Newly Diagnosed Women
Advancements in cancer treatment have come a really long way. If caught early, breast cancer is a treatable disease and is not a death sentence. The important thing is to know your breasts, stay in tune with your body, and talk to your doctor if you experience any major changes.
Also, trust your instincts! If something doesnt feel right, listen to your gut. If you dont feel like your doctor is giving you the best advice, seek a second opinion.
Ep 1: A Conversation On Corporate Law Natural Hair And Overcoming The Test
This weeks episode features Chris-Tia Donaldson, Harvard Law School Graduate, Former General Counsel at Oracle, and Founder and CEO of Thank God Its Natural. Listen as we take a deep dive into Chris-Tias latest book, “This Is Only A Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Faith, Love, Hair, And Business.” Among many things, we discuss her experience attending an Ivy League university, the harsh realities she faced upon entering her first law firm, her inspiration for starting TGIN, and how a sudden breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 led her to revaluate everything, including her definition of success. PURCHASE CHRIS-TIAS NEW BOOK, THIS IS ONLY A TEST, WHAT BREAST CANCER TAUGHT ME ABOUT FAITH, LOVE, HAIR, AND BUSINESS THROUGH AMAZON HERE. ALSO AVAILABLE ON KINDLE!
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Tgin Beauty Founder Chris
Chris-Tia Donaldson, Founder Of Thank God Its Natural died on Saturday, November 13. The beauty entrepreneur and author was a beloved part of the natural hair community. She was considered a pioneer in the space and was greatly respected by her colleagues and competitors.
She penned her second book This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business in 2019. The text fiercely advocated for business owners to care for themselves while building their organizations. Donaldson also partnered with corporations to provide resources to those battling breast cancer.
Her passing was confirmed in a video posted to her personal Instagram account by her niece and TGIN Finance And Human Resources Manager Aris Singleton.
Singleton appeared on camera in the brands signature accent pink, presumably to honor her aunts legacy as a self-professed breast cancer thriver. She began by greeting the miracle babes, who supported her aunt.
Singleton expressed a determination to continue Donaldsons legacy. She invested in all of us, all of you and we will forever honor her.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Donaldson family and all of those whose lives were touched by Chris-Tia at this time.
What Was The Most Challenging Aspect Of Your Journey
When I was first diagnosed, my doctor asked me when could I start chemotherapy. I told them I had a meeting with Target on March 22 that I had to look good for. Based on that, we scheduled my treatments in such a way, that I would be off and looking and feeling good for that meeting, but I soon learned you cant plan for everything. We ended up getting calls to do meetings with Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS, and I just had to wing it even though I was at my weakest, and had no clue what this journey would bring.
I think another major challenge was not getting bogged down with the distractions that come with reading some message boards. There were so many depressing stories and negativity in there. I was convinced after reading some of this stuff about low sex drive, thinning hair, dry vagina, and weight gain I would never be the same woman again.
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Tell Us About The Tgin Foundation
When I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I learned that having money could make the difference between living and dying when it came to this condition. When people think cancer, they think cancer treatment and that that somehow equates with survivorship. But what people dont realize is that there are so many women out there that cant even make it to cancer treatments, because of the cost of parking, their lack reliable transportation, their inability to take off of work, or they have no one to watch their kids. These socio-economic barriers to treatment are a major factor that contributes to health disparities and explains why black women, in some cities like Chicago, are 42% more likely to die of breast cancer than the general population.
Im proud to say that the TGIN Foundation has raised over $50,000 to date to help subsidize free mammograms, offer breast navigation services to underinsured patients, and raise awareness of the importance of early detection in women under 40.
Diagnosed Before : Tgin Founder Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story
Chris-Tia Donaldson is a breast cancer survivor and founder of Thank God Im Natural .
She released her first book, Thank God Im Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair, in the summer of 2009. It was quickly heralded at the The Natural Hair Bible.
The book dispelled some of the most common myths and misconceptions about kinky hair. It also gave women a much-needed resource for how to embrace their coils.
Following the success of the book, Chris-Tia, a Harvard law school graduate, made a transition. She never had plans of being an entrepreneur, but this was the perfect moment to launch her natural hair care line, Thank God Im Natural .
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In 2013, she started making her products in the kitchen with the help of her family. By 2015, the products became a viable company with revenue topping $1 million.
The now successful CEO, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker has another title that she proudly claims: breast cancer survivor.
The CEO used social media to chronicle her journey. She continues to speak to women about the importance of early detection even for women younger than 40.
Chris-Tia shared her story with BlackDoctor.org via a Facebook Live interview. Below are highlights from the Q& A. Watch the full interview on the following page.
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Tgin Asked Its Followers To Share Stories About Donaldson As They Use The Day To Reset
TGIN also announced Donaldsons death on social media, sharing a memorial video on their official Facebook page Monday, November 15, 2021. The company announced that they were using the day to reset after the passing of the Chris-Tia we loved, admired, and would go to the ends of the earth for.
They asked that those who knew her personally share a story about her. Several people shared personal stories within four hours of the post.
She was always kind when I saw her at the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show, one person wrote. I remember telling her that she was the only vendor who was nice to me when I attended in 2011 she was so humbled. I made it my business to support her every time she was a vendor. My granny loves the TGIN leave-in conditioner. She calls it the good stuff for her hair.
I met her in Detroit at the Southfield Mall when she was just starting out, so proud of all her accomplishments. She was so warm and kind. Rest In Sweet Peace, wrote another person.
So sad! She was too young! Cancer is a monster! another person wrote in the comments.
Tell Us About Your Journey To Diagnosis
I was on a girls trip with one of my best friends in Palm Springs, when I noticed this lump in my chest, which had been there for a couple of months, had suddenly grown larger. Initially, I thought it was hormonal related, because I had a cyst removed from my breast in my 20s. Given my age and the fact that I felt perfectly healthy, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. After two to three months passed, I made an appointment to see my OBGYN. When I told my best friend the doctors team said I could come in three weeks, she told me to call back and be specific about my concerns, and thats when they made plans to see me immediately. Although my doctor did not think it was cancer given the lumps size, shape and the fact that it was soft and movable, she still recommended a mammogram just to be safe.
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Donaldson Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer In 2015 & Wrote A Book About Her Cancer Journey
Black Information Network
Donaldson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, according to her TGIN bio. She learned through her battle with cancer that finances can make the difference between death and survival, her bio says.
During her treatment, she learned that having money could make the difference between living and dying when it came to treating this condition, her bio says. In her observation, few organizations existed that provided support and social services to help women with transportation, child care, parking, or seeking disability leave from their place of employment.
Donaldson wrote a book about her cancer journey, This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business, published in 2019.
In Chapter One, she reflects on her life and about whether stress and high expectations of herself may have led to her diagnosis.
Surviving The Storm Breast Cancer: The Story Of Perseverance And Strength
Life can sometimes throw us a curve ball, but the will to overcome obstacles can be brought to the surface when we are faced with challenges.
And when it comes to breast cancer Black women face a big challenge.
To begin with, studies have found that African-American women have a 40 percent higher mortality rate than White women facing breast cancer.
While lying in bed one evening, Tenika Whitehead accidentally ran her hand across her breast and felt a lump. It felt different and out of the norm from her regular self-examinationsso her alarm went off. She went to the doctor for an examination and testing. The results came back: Whitehead was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.
At 31, the mother of three did not expect to be a part of an alarming number of young women under 40 battling the disease.
In addition to the alarming national mortality rates, an African-American woman in Chicago is more than twice as likely to die of breast cancer compared to White women but it has not always been like this.
In 1980 there was little difference in death rates between the two groups. While a decline in breast cancer deaths among White women is a notable success in the fight against the disease, the simultaneous increase in the death rate among Black women implies that advances in breast care over the last 28 years have benefited some, but not all.
The Face of Breast Cancer
Telling Our Stories
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