The 2007 AWIB Entrepreneurial Leadership Award Winner

DonnaDonna D'Cruz
President & Founder
raSa Music

raSa Music is lifestyle products company based in New York City. Founded in 1997, the company has five employees and revenues of $3 million. It specializes in music for health, enlightenment and conscious entertaining and has recently branched out to include books, candles and aromatherapy products.

Donna D'Cruz was born in India and emigrated to Australia as a youngster with her family. She pursued a career in modeling and was employed in the music industry when America beckoned, as she felt the urge to forge all her creative forces.

Moving to the US in 1991, Donna spent the next few years honing her skills in artist management, visual display, merchandising and writing. At the same time, there was a growing movement towards awareness and spirituality. All this culminated in the creation of raSa Music in 1997. raSa’s albums embody ‘Spirituality, Sensuality and Style’ and run the gamut from meditation and yoga to lounge/electronica.

Through raSa, Donna has showcased and brought to the mainstream, artists and music from around the world. She has also successfully collaborated with the likes of spirituality guru Deepak Chopra and renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. Her products sell across the country. Retail giant Wal-Mart, which nominated Donna for the award, features raSa in 1500 stores.

Besides running raSa, she is one of the world's top celebrity DJs. With trademark Swarovski crystal headphones, Donna jet sets around the globe enthralling celebrities like Madonna and Diddy and parties for Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana productions. Modern Bride magazine billed her one of ‘25 Trendsetters of 2007’and Paper Magazine named her as ‘50 Most Beautiful People’.

Donna defies labeling and is her own brand. She has made it in the music business - certainly an unusual area for an Indian woman. “Doing business in certain international markets is challenging as an Asian woman because it is rare to encounter accomplished creative passionate business leaders employing grace, top service and creative visioning,” she says.

As a self-financed entrepreneur she went through the pangs of limited ability to expand the business and finding the staff with expertise in the areas of distribution, marketing finance and business affairs. But eventually, “self-reliance, ingenuity and commitment to a cause” have fueled her success. Donna is one of the five artists contributing to Swarovski’s Fashion Rocks event in London this October, for which she has designed special “Rasa Rocks” headphones.

Her mentor and sounding board has been husband, Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records, whom she married in 2000. “He has a keen understanding of the necessity of a woman entrepreneur's gifts and has encouraged and fostered my development as a business leader,” she says.

Donna uses her celebrity to further many causes. She contributes one third of her performances fees to charities such as the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, Free Arts NYC, the G&P Foundation, Keep a Child Alive, Women Together, Alliance for a New Humanity, Fashion for Darfur, Climate project and more.

 





 



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