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40 Under 40 - Class of 2014
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 7 years ago

Linda Doan, 38

Entrepreneur in real estate, frozen yogurt and hospitality

Earth-shattering busy is just a way of life for Linda Doan.

Her day starts with her three children, who are 8, 7 and 11 months old. Then the outside-the-home work begins. That list includes: owner of a property management firm with 26 rental units spread through Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Gainesville; founder and CEO of WhiteBerry USA, a Sarasota frozen yogurt chain with stores in Sarasota, University Park and Gainesville; owner and CEO of Chopstix Bistro, a Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant in Gainesville; and business manager of Exceptional Dentistry of Sarasota, a practice owned by her husband, Dr. Thomas Doan.

One question Doan gets a lot is where does she find the time to do everything? Her answer is twofold: Plan a lot, and get up early, usually before 6 a.m. “I’m a big planner,” she says. “Everything is on a schedule.”

A large part of Doan’s work ethic comes from her childhood. She was born in Vietnam, the daughter of politically connected attorneys. But her family, fearing for their safety in the post-Vietnam War turmoil of the late 1970s, moved to the United States when Doan was a young girl.

The journey to America, says Doan, turned traumatic when pirates raided the boat she and her family were on. “They took everything we had,” says Doan. “By the time we got to the U.S., we didn’t have anything.”

Doan’s parents settled in Gainesville. Doan watched her parents lose everything and start over, and she tries to instill that work ethic and appreciation for things in her children. “We never take anything for granted,” Doan says. “If you want something, you need to work hard.”

— Mark Gordon


City of residence: Sarasota

Twitter handle: Don’t have one :-(

Birthplace: Saigon, Vietnam

Years on the Gulf Coast: 12 years

Marital status/children: Married to Thomas Doan, Three girls: Mischa, Esme and Elan

Alma mater: Bachelor’s at University of Florida and Master at Columbia University

Best place to network: Facebook

Coolest business experience: For me is being able to help give free dentistry to 600-plus people in one day

The most important business lesson: I’ve learned from my father is work with your heart not with head.

One website that makes your job easier: Online banking

One community group you’re most involved with: Make a Wish foundation

Favorite off-hours activity: cooking for my family.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Oprah Winfrey and Linda Gates

Best award you ever received: “Most Likely to Succeed” From High School :-)

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean of Vietnam.

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Traveling to Africa.

What new skill would you like to learn: Invent something cool

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Angelina Jolie

If I had a magic wand I’d: I would give FREEDOM to every country on this planet.

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