(Columbus, July 17, 2020) — Donya’s Florals, the resident florist of the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC), is celebrating its sixth anniversary this week and welcoming three student interns from Lead The Way Learning Academy (LTWLA).

Founded in 2004, LTWLA provides youth development and workforce services in Franklin County for students from kindergarten through high school seniors.

Through the school’s Youth Internship Program, the interns with Donya’s Florals have the opportunity to learn about botany, retail sales, event planning, floral design and marketing, client relationship marketing and management, basic flower/plant care and handling, event and hospitality services, marketing communication and sales, cost of goods sold and buying, pricing, promoting, packaging and distributing goods for retail.

“These are three amazing interns learning from beginning to end to process an order. They work collaboratively to process the order and all the little touches. They know how to crank out a contract, call the courier and help them navigate getting here,” said owner Donya Lewis. “And, they’re fashionistas!”

The three interns hired by Donya’s Florals are two sisters, Safia Abdi (an incoming junior at Horizon Science Academy) and Asisa Abdi (an incoming senior at Horizon Science Academy), and Leyla Abdurahim, an incoming senior at Westerville North High School.

In only a couple of weeks, the interns have further ignited their passion and expanded their knowledge of all aspects involved in running a business.

“I love flowers and like design the best,” said Safia Abdi. “Donya is a very independent and strong woman and I like how she does her work.”

Added floral fan Asisa Abdi, “Designing takes a lot of work.”

“Donya taught me to be delicate and have a steady hand with the flowers. I enjoy getting good feedback from customers,” said Abdurahim. “Other internships were stay-at-home, and I wanted to be at the location.”

The intern team has worked on a variety of orders, including one for the YWCA Women of Achievement festivities, a client introduced to Lewis by GCCC Sales Manager Lesley Cornathan. The YWCA is just one of numerous clients enjoying the florals delivered by this GCCC in-house service provider.

Three upcoming weddings include each intern dedicated to one bride with varying preferences for white rose, sunflower and lavender components to be incorporated in their festivities.

Plans for the internships’ second year include a field trip to a flower farm and exploring AmericanHort’s Cultivate, a Top 200 trade show typically held at the GCCC in July. The event is being conducted in virtual form this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis learned about the opportunity to host interns during an LTWLA presentation to the Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce — of which the GCCC is also a member — and volunteered to participate.

“Donya’s Florals has grown significantly at the GCCC and brought a floral flair to our client events, nearby businesses and their employees,” said GCCC General Manager John R. Page. “It is no surprise that Donya’s next step is sharing her passion and expertise with these interns to nurture the next generation of florists.”

Donya’s Florals opened at the GCCC in February 2018 within the facility’s South Café & Marketplace. A veteran-owned company, the company specializes in custom floral design and is rated one of the 13 best floral designers in Columbus from among the more than 180 curated by

For more information, contact Donya’s Florals at (614) 626-2260 or visit

  • The GCCC venue itself is a cashless facility. This includes all GCCC operated concessions and all in-lane GCCC parking transactions. However, within the GCCC, there are individual contracted vendors and outlets who, at their discretion, may accept cash.