A founding family member of Donatos Pizza, Jane Grote Abell currently holds the title of Chairwoman of the Board.
Over the last four decades, Jane has held a variety of positions at both Donatos Pizza and Jane’s Dough Foods, Donatos’ food service commissary operations. In 1988 with a degree from Ohio State University in Organizational Communications, and a strong passion for people, she was promoted to Chief People Officer and served in this role during the acquisition by McDonald’s in 1999.
During the four years with McDonalds, Jane served as Senior Vice President of Development and maintained her role as Chief People Officer. In these leadership positions, she helped steer the company’s business strategy. In 2003, Jane was a major catalyst behind the decision to purchase Donatos back from McDonald’s. Following the buy back, in December of 2006, Jane was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer.
Though Jane is heavily focused on the chain’s mission of promoting goodwill through product, service, principles and people, since taking over as Chairwoman of the Board in 2010, Jane has had time to focus on work outside of Donatos. Because her roots trace back to the first store on Thurman Avenue on Columbus’ south side, she and her family remain committed to the area’s success. Evidence of this was the $1.5 million donation that the Grote family contributed to help a city plan to revive the South Parsons Corridor. She has been an advocate for this project from its inception in 2012 and founded the Reeb Avenue Center, a social-services center housing 13 non-profits that focus on education and workforce development.
Jane is a member of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women and the co-chair for the 2015-2016 Go Red Campaign with husband Tom Krouse. She is a founding member of the Ross Leadership Institute and serves on the Otterbein Women's Leadership Advisory Council. She sits on the Board of Directors for Reeb Avenue Center, Action for Children, Experience Columbus and I Know I Can. She is also a member of the Columbus Chapter of the Young President’s Organization.
Jane has received a number of awards and recognitions. In 2014 she was named to the YWCA Columbus Academy of Women of Achievement, one of only 237 women so honored since 1986. In 2014, Columbus CEO Magazine named Jane CEO of the Year and Franchise Update Magazine listed her as one of the Top 24 Women in Franchising. Jane was also featured in CBS’s hit series Undercover Boss where she donned a disguise and went undercover in Donatos restaurants.
In 2015, Jane released her first book THE MISSING PIECE: Doing Business the Donatos Way. Jane’s book is the story of a classic American family business. It is a warm, insightful account of Jane’s lifelong education in leadership, authenticity and running a values-based business.
Casey Minton is a Consumer Insights and Marketing Analysis executive with 20+ years experience in applying marketing research and analytics to generate impactful insights that drive strategic initiatives and build brands, working with names such as Wendy's Corporate and P.F. Chang's.
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This event is free for Ohio Restaurant Association members; there is a fee of $25.00 for non-members and $10.00 for students. There will be a networking reception following the event.
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