Lisa Marie McDonald is an unapologetic entrepreneur, philanthropist extraordinaire, and lifelong animal advocate. Business owner, world traveler, speaker, animal sanctuary founder and thought leader, her trove of accomplishments is as big as her heart.
As a jet-setting corporate consultant, Lisa was at the top of her field, helping some of the world’s biggest companies to boost their bottom line. A MENSA member, she specialized in enterprise content management for corporate legal departments and law firms throughout the world. But Lisa wanted more. She wanted to turn her passion for love, kindness, and compassion into a business venture that would make the world a better place.
So she and partner Joe Dinan started Sanctuary Brewing Company (SBC) in Hendersonville, NC, a one-of-a-kind, award-winning vegan microbrewery dedicated to good times, good deeds, and amazing beer. Through SBC, McDonald is showing the world that philanthropy and profit can go hand-in-hand. As a result, Lisa was recently elected to the board of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.
A Chicago native, Lisa has lived all over the world, from Singapore to Australia to Los Angeles; visited more than 20 national parks; and is an avid hiker who loves the outdoors.
Lisa’s love for animals, humans, and the planet is palpable. She created a Kindness Wall at the brewery, where those in need can take seasonal clothing, umbrellas, and essentials bags filled with basic necessities. She also offers free Sunday meals, and hosts Give Forward community days where people can get free haircuts, job placement assistance, and health checks. In addition, in the three years since its opening SBC has raised more than $15,000 for environmental, social justice, and animal advocacy charities.
Under the umbrella of her Kindness Empire nonprofit, Sweet Bear Rescue Farm is Lisa’s latest venture and she serves as caretaker to nearly 40 non-human residents including dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, goats and an incredibly charming turkey named George.
Singlehandedly, she’s helped dozens of individuals transition to a plant-based lifestyle, as well as transformed the entire community of Hendersonville, NC, into a vegan mecca (recently recognized as such by AAA Carolinas and Mountain Xpress) through monthly supper clubs, vegan grocery shopping trips, and documentary screenings.
Her unique story and the incredible change she’s helped to facilitate in her community and nationwide has drawn the attention of major influencers and publications from race car driver Leilani Munter to Paste magazine to actor Ricky Gervais.
Lisa is magnetic, fun-loving, hilarious — and as kind as they come. Through her Kindness Empire, Lisa is bringing her sense of purpose and philanthropy to the
rest of the world. She’s changing the game. In her words: “It’s so easy to immerse yourself in community and ways to take a brick and mortar business and turn it into a space for kindness and advocacy, and that’s what Sanctuary Brewing has become.”