Donna Nasmyth leads through service.
A tall, blonde woman strides into the office entryway wearing high heels and a classy dress suit. She introduces herself, her smile bright and cheerful, and leads the way into her office in one of the University of La Verne’s academic advising buildings. Her office displays a bulletin board filled with pictures of children, neatly laid stacks of papers, and a cell phone on her desk that never stops ringing.
Donna Nasmyth does not look like your average city council member. She is perky and warm, with an underlying passion and dedication to service. For the last 101 years, La Verne’s city council has been comprised of only men. Nasmyth, 41, was recently appointed the first woman city council member in La Verne’s history.
“Of course it’s an honor to be the first woman,” Nasmyth said. “But it was really the last reason why I decided to serve on the council.”
Her slight frustration is visible when her gender is brought up—Nasmyth would much rather citizens of La Verne focus on her many contributions to the city (as a volunteer and as a member of the city’s Planning Commission) and her qualifications for the position.
Nasmyth has lived in La Verne her entire life and was educated and brought up in the Bonita Unified School District. Her daughters, Summer (a freshman at the University of La Verne), and Chloe, 7, have also been raised in the quiet suburb. Her life has been devoted to serving the city by volunteering for various committees with issues that lie close to her heart—protecting the youth and senior citizens of La Verne.
With her unanimous appointment to the council on August 30, following Councilman Dan Harden’s retirement announcement, Nasmyth will be able to focus on supporting and aiding these key issues. At the time of her appointment, she was serving on the City Planning Commission. She was nominated by Councilman Don Kendrick and Mayor Jon Blickenstaff when Harden’s chair became empty. The council voted 4-0 to have her installed. The support from other members of the city council helped boost Nasmyth’s confidence.
“Everyone has been so great,” Nasmyth said. “Just really welcoming.”
Nasmyth received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of La Verne, and just last spring earned her doctorate from there as well. She currently works as an academic adviser for online students and as an adjunct professor in the liberal studies department.
“I think she’s a perfect appointment for many reasons,” Blickenstaff said. “She’s bright, energetic, and she truly cares about the people of La Verne.”
Nasmyth was sworn in at the council’s October 1 meeting.
“It is surprising that with all of the capable women we’ve had serving the community it’s taken this long to appoint a woman,” Councilman Steve Johnson remarked. “It’s going to be great to have a woman’s insight.”
Nasmyth will continue to fill retired Councilman Harden’s term until March 2009. Her first steps will be to meet with City Manager Martin Lomeli and city department heads (like the police and fire chiefs.) Once she feels she’s learned the ropes, her seat will be ready next to council members Robert Rodriguez, Johnson and Kendrick.
“I’ve known her forever,” Johnson said. “She’s going to be a good addition to the council.”
Nasmyth will continue her position at the University of La Verne, but will rearrange her schedule to accommodate various committees and planning sessions.
La Verne has definitely turned a corner with Nasmyth’s appointment, and it is certain that this capable woman will work extremely hard to keep the city at its finest.