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Columbus Business First – 40 Under 40: Jeffrey Donaldson

May 30, 2014

Edited interview with Doug Buchanan – Click for full article on Columbus Business First


What’s your favorite color, and why?  

GT Silver Metallic, because it has a slightly purple sheen at certain angles and hugs a curvy silhouette.

How did you end up in your current profession?

I observed craniofacial surgery as a seventh-grader and was immediately enthralled. After considering cardiothoracic, general and neurosurgery throughout 12 years of medical education and training, I found the deepest and purest satisfaction with plastic and reconstructive surgery. I loved the technical precision and artistry, the anatomic complexity and variety, the sub-specialized role of “the surgeon’s surgeon,” the enthusiasm of my mentors and the unique opportunity for sole-proprietorship in the face of increasingly large medical groups and systems.

Tell us about someone who’s had an impact on you. 

Bob Waterhouse is a plastic surgeon in Maine who elegantly combines surgical skills and human skills to achieve a balanced, fulfilling, authentic life. Outside of his thriving practice, I found him at various times during my tenure walking his dogs in the woods with his wife, crewing a single skull alone through the dawn mist, siding a shed with one of his sons, and having a beer after suturing a “flap repair” onto his horse’s barbwire-injured buttock! His blend of humility, kindness, curiosity, approachability, wit and athleticism lends him a genuine presence, and a profound general wherewithal that continues to inspire me.

How would you describe Ohio to someone who’s never been to the U.S.?

Ohio is central to the American ethos, and home to great pride and productivity. It is geographically varied from the shores of Lake Erie to urban skyscrapers to the Hocking Hills and rolling farm country. The people are friendly, grounded, hard-working and resilient. Economically, the state has ambitiously pivoted from fur-trapping, to agriculture, to industry, to health care, natural gas, finance and technology with consistent entrepreneurism. Sports and culture are easily accessible and there is an affordable high standard of living. Culinary sophistication continues to increase and the airports efficiently provide escape when the weather is uncooperative!

What would make Central Ohio a better place to live?

Continued investment in public aesthetics – repurposed buildings, waterfront leisure, al fresco dining, public art. And recruitment of entrepreneurs – fostering communities of young, educated, diverse, creative, talented, motivated individuals who are excited to participate in an energetic city that is committed to an upward trajectory.