Get to Know Bold Betties Member, Donna Martino
For those of you who have met Donna Martino at one of the many Bold Betties activities she has attended, you know that this dynamic, outgoing lady represents what this amazing group is all about.
Donna is originally from Albany, New York but she moved to Colorado in April of 2013. Her twelve year career in the Navy brought her to Denver, where she worked as a career counselor on Buckley Air Force Base. Throughout her time in the Navy Donna spent time in many locations, including Texas, Tennessee, California, Hawaii, and she even lived in Japan for two years. Donna spent half of her Navy career as a radar operator which she says, “It wasn’t very exciting, I spent my days staring at a screen.” After six years of this work she switched to become a career counselor. Donna loves living in Denver but says she does miss some things about the Navy, like being on a ship and seeing new places.
Donna happily reports that she recently became engaged to her boyfriend, Matt, who she says she knew for 20 years and then reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. They were initially just friends who bonded over their mutual disdain for relationships, “We were both single and disgruntled,” says Donna. Their friendship grew over time and eventually Matt moved to Denver this spring, leaving the east coast for the first time.
Donna and Matt are having a casual wedding on September 12 in her parent’s backyard in Albany and then honeymooning in the Dominican Republic. She says that she found her wedding dress for $15 on Black Friday and that she’s going to wear it with cowboy boots. Yes, this Bold Betty proudly marches to the beat of her own drum! “I’m not one of those women who has been planning my wedding since I was five years old.” Donna says that she wasn’t a typical little girl when growing up and more of a tomboy. “When I was a kid I wanted to wrestle and play catch with my brother.”
Donna has been a member of the Bold Betties Community since the very beginning. She actually met founder Niki Koubourlis through another Meetup group that was training for the Color Me Rad Run before Bold Betties even existed. She joined Niki’s Meetup group when it was first created and has been enjoying the activities ever since. Niki likes to joke that Donna has come to every single event, but she says, “It’s really just most of them.” And for the record, she has attended more events than any other Betty!
Donna says that the camaraderie of the women in the Bold Betties Community kind of reminds her of being in the Navy. She loves that she has bonded with so many of the women, particularly given that she didn't have very many close female friendships in the past. She particularly likes that the events are never a competition between women and that everyone supports and encourages one another. She also appreciates that there’s never a need to feel like the only inexperienced person in the group. “There’s always someone who hasn’t done the activity before, so you’re never the only one who is new to it.”
All of her experiences with the Bold Betties Community have been great ones, even when the first camping excursion to Steamboat got off to a rocky start (you’ll have to ask her about it!) and her activity was limited due to the surgery she underwent before the trip. And even on the trip to Moab when she was suffering from heat exhaustion, her fellow Betties looked after her and made sure she was OK. “I’ve made the most of every trip, had a lot of fun and don’t regret any of it” says Donna.
When asked about her personal mission statement or philosophy on life Donna says, "I like to live in the moment, try new things, and if I want to do something, I do it.” She says that after getting out of a bad relationship she learned that there is a time to be selfish and to take care of yourself. Donna says that she was always a “fixer,” that she wanted to fix everything for everyone else but that she now knows how important it is to take care of herself and her own needs. She says of her relationship with fiancé Matt, “We both know that in taking care of ourselves, we also take care of one another.”
Donna is currently enrolled in the Interior Design program at The Art Institute of Colorado. When she graduates in 2017 she plans on going to work for herself in the field of residential construction. She also enjoys country music, line dancing, sewing, crafting and likes to do projects around the house like reorganizing and yard work. Sometimes you can find Donna riding on the back of her fiancé’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle and someday soon she’ll be riding on her own. If you’ve signed up with the Bold Betties group for the upcoming Colorado Mudderella, or a number of other events, you’re sure to see Donna there.
Thanks Donna for all the fun times with the Bold Betties! You can learn a little bit more about Donna in her Q & A.
Q. What is your most memorable outdoor adventure?
A. Zip lining at Royal Gorge.
Q. What/where are three of your favorite outdoor adventures in Colorado?
A. Zip lining at Royal Gorge, camping at Steamboat Springs and camping in Moab.
Q. What item do you consider indispensable on your outdoor adventures and why?
A. A camera to capture all of our fun times together.
Q. Tell me about a time when you overcame a particular challenge or fear.
A. My fear of water I can’t see in, I jumped off the back of a US Navy warship into the Mariana Trench, just to say I did it. And then went scuba diving off the coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef.
Q. Who are some of your female role models, both while growing up and currently?
A. My mom mostly.
Q. What are the top three things still left on your bucket list?
A. I don’t really have a bucket list, I take adventures as they come at me.