For 6,834 consecutive nights, Olivia McDonnell made sure to tell her mom that she loved her. Even after McDonnell moved out of their Torresdale home to study at Drexel University, or as her career took her to cities all across the world, making that phone call home was always one of the most important parts of McDonnell’s day.
“I was 8 years old when her dad died in the middle of the night from a stroke, and I realized I could potentially wake up some day and she’s not here, too,” McDonnell said.
Since that moment, it was a nightly ritual until Marie, her mother, passed away in her sleep in 2017. McDonnell’s biggest fear had come true.
“Looking back on it, I have no regrets that it was the last thing I said every night,” she said.
Now, she’s sending love to her mother in a different way. McDonnell is writing her first book about growing up being raised by Marie, with the working title 6834: What a Nightly I Love You Taught Me About Life, Leadership, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Set for an April release, the book is full of anecdotes and wisdom McDonnell obtained from being the daughter of a COO.
“I grew up in an environment where when I thought of executives, I always thought they were all women,” she said.
Marie worked in corporate real estate after graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania shortly after the school began accepting women. She had opened three brokerage firms before having McDonnell, who then became her business.
McDonnell attended school at Archbishop Ryan before moving on to Drexel and eventually landing a job in banking and financial services, working as a commercial banker in technology and disruptive commerce and media and entertainment. After nine years in the industry, she relocated to Los Angeles to fully focus on the music industry, becoming an instructor for music business law courses.
She attributes her success having a role model for a mother.
“I could never imagine not leaning into my career or ever leaving,” she said.
When COVID-19 caused the world to lock down, she began taking a course at Georgetown University that would help her write a book, which she knew she wanted to dedicate to her mom. Thanks to the shutdown, she was able to crank out 20,000 to 30,000 words in just a couple of weeks.
The book, described by McDonnell as “Mamma Mia! without the offensive singing,” is meant to capture the profound love between a mother and daughter.
“I feel like a mom would pick up her kid and carry them through the Sahara Desert if she had to. That’s the testament I’m trying to reach with this book,” McDonnell said.
The book will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble with a tentative April release date. The book is published by New Degree Press and is following a hybrid publishing model, which means they will physically produce the book if the author funds the costs. McDonnell ran an Indiegogo campaign to raise the costs. The book can be preordered at OliviaMcDonnell.com. ••