WORKS LIKE A CHARM: Kay McDonald, Owner of Charity Charms

Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
All Rights Reserved

One of the things that strikes you about Kay McDonald when you meet her is that she has a contagious laugh. I immediately love people who laugh so completely that their head involuntary tosses back when they laugh! Don’t you?

Since 2004, Kay’s company Charity Charms has worked like a charm – turning logos into beautiful, wearable works of art. She has helped over 500 charities, schools, and cause-related businesses to raise awareness and enlighten millions by telling their unique and compelling stories. I am one of those proud recipients of Kay’s talent. She designed a charm for Fearlessly Deliver last May that I absolutely love.  Fearless charms are currently for sale at

Kay’s company mission more is not the only compelling element of Charity Charms; it is her core nature that really charms you. This truly is a woman with a heart for philanthropy!


1. Have a Heart for Philanthropy

It is important to know what drives you in order to be successful. Kay and I share something very important; we both feel that it is our humble responsibility to share the many gifts that God gave us with the world by creating a meaningful vocation, and not settle for just a job.  We are intrinsically driven to live up to our potential as women entrepreneurs and we are compelled to bring as many people, organizations, and fellow business people along with us.

As a seasoned professional in women’s fashion, jewelry and accessory industry; Kay saw an opportunity in the market to help charitable organizations to tell their story by creating something lasting and unique with charms. Kay brings each charity into her fold and makes a family out of them.

2. Vet your Idea and Follow Your Gut

Kay has created a unique business of her own. It is important to note that today charms are in vogue. However, at the time Kay started her company charms were not on the forefront of the jewelry market. They were something we recalled our grandmothers wearing, not meaningful fund raising tools spotlighting worthy causes.

We all vet ideas with our trusted advisors before we take the leap.  As Kay was making the decision to start her company, much to her surprise, when she ran her idea by one of her biggest fans; not only did that individual not concur with her vision, they shot it down saying, “What are you thinking!?”

It is always disappointing when our biggest fans do not see our idea as viable. Kay says she allowed this person to get into her head and under her skin for about half a day. Ultimately, she just shrugged her shoulders and told herself “It is important to vet your ideas but it more important to follow your own gut.”

3. Be a Trail Blazer

Kay created an opportunity in the market to repurpose an old idea. However, she was also very aware that she was creating something for a market that did not know it wanted or needed the tool she was creating. Despite the growing popularity of charms in the general consumer market, to this day, Kay still has to explain the benefits of charms to her ideal clients.  She exemplifies the notion that one should not be afraid to be the first to enter a market, and to stand behind good ideas that are worth sharing.

4. Get Big | Get Small | Get Big Again

Kay has had to pull back and restructure a few times in the lifetime of her company. In 2009 when the economy took a down turn; Kay chose to get out of the retail inventory game and shifted her effort to focus strictly on wholesale. Today she is looking for new creative ways to collaborate and grow again so that she can take her company to the next level.

5. I Can Do THAT!

The idiom “Works like a Charm” means to work very well or be exceptionally effective.  This idiom applies to Kay in every way. She is a hard worker and has designed a very effective production process.

Kay and I are scrappers. We figure things out. We get things done. We say YES when asked and then figure out how to get things done later.  We sell air and make the product later.  We never ask anyone to do for us what we know we can do for ourselves. We know what we are good at and enjoy; as well as being aware of what we are not so good at and dislike. From that knowledge, we make our choices accordingly.  When asked if we can do something we say, “I can do that!” Not only can we do things; we do things with excellence.

Thank you so much Kay for stepping up and creating the Fearlessly Deliver Charm, for sharing your sense of humor and wonder, and for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 7!


As I researched what this painting could be about, I learned how charms have been so important for centuries and wanted to combine that with the idea of scaling up and down, and up again. Ultimately, I came back to our mutual toss your head back laughter.  One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott says (paraphrasing here) that laughter is the hearts way of saying, “Ain’t that the truth!” She goes on to say that “laughter is carbonated holiness.” I agree.

Recently, I was also reading my friend Jordan Adler’s book, Better Than Beach Money, and he states that we entrepreneurs recognize one another. I agree.  Entrepreneurs can spot one another within seconds. We are a special breed!

The laughter between entrepreneurs is similar to laughter that is shared between grateful survivors of a tragic event. Our laughter with one another is loaded with moments of sheer audacity that only a true entrepreneur with their whole life on the line can understand. One belly laugh encapsulates a variety of fly by the seat of your pants with your hair on fire moments.  It is chocked full of memories like 3:00 AM wake up calls with a 6:00 AM deadline; having $4.32 cents in your bank account; and putting $4 in your gas tank to get to THE meeting that will get you over the hump; putting on your lipstick at countless stop lights; and sitting back politely and smiling while you listen to naysayers declare, “What are you THINKING??!!” —all the while knowing you have a GREAT idea!

Yes, the laughter that Kay and I share is loaded with the audacity of fearlessness. When our heads throw themselves back during our belly laughs we are for sure declaring, ”Ain’t that the truth” with one another and it is a beautiful truth. Fashion entrepreneurism teamed up with philanthropy? Yes – that truly is “carbonated holiness!”


This series has been a short one for me as I build my professional brand into the second half of its first decade.  Getting back to the original gifting nature of my work – giving has been a good reminder for me.  My art projects do create works of art that are salable but most importantly; they are mini demonstrations of my business acumen, my ability to run a project; and are all about building deep lasting relationships and my brand.  The second half of this decade is going to be an exciting one for my brand where much much more will be revealed.

The seven entrepreneurs in this project are exceptional human beings.  It is my honor to call them associates and have them as friends.  Thank you Fearless Seven; you rock!!



AoFDB IV – The Gratitude Series

Carstens Fine Art Gallery

November 15, 2018

6-9 PM

7077 Main St., #5
Scottsdale, AZ 85251


CHARITY:  The Phoenix Art Museum

In this gratitude series, the paintings are gifts to the featured business owners
and the sketches are for sale to the public and online at the 
Fearless Art Works eGallery.  

Two pieces of the original six works will be gifted to Fearless Alliance Fitness Team member, Optavia Health Coach Stacy Phillips

Both the original work and all six sketches  from this series will be on view for the opening.

25% of the proceeds from the sketches & 10% of profit
from print, retail & illustrated book sales
will benefit the  Phoenix Art Museum.


Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are FEARLESSLY DELIVER’s muse and focus.  As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The FEARLESS ART PROJECTS are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.

THE ART OF FEARLESSLY DOING BUSINESS (AoFDB) is an unprecedented and unique social practice project that celebrates the fearless entrepreneurial spirit by highlighting the stories of unique and fearless business leaders.Ten percent of all retails sales are donated to an art or business related charity every. 

AoFDB IV features seven fearless entrepreneurs that have gone over and beyond their call of duty partnering with me on past four fearless art projects in one form or another.  

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