Jane Grote Abell

Cues and Views

Donatos Pizza Executive Chairwoman and Chief Purpose Officer Jane Grote Abell, in brief.

Jane Grote Abell
Transformative business and community leader, author, speaker and philanthropist, Jane Grote Abell.

Home: Columbus, OH.  Age: A grandma.  Birthplace: Columbus, OH.  Profession: Pizza maker. Organization: Donatos Pizza.  Title: Executive Chairwoman and Chief Purpose Officer. Preferred pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Significant other: Tom Krouse (husband).  Alma mater: The Ohio State University.  Honorary degrees in Humanity from Otterbein, Capital University, Franklin University.

Current project: Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; ending poverty.  Also, yoga and being a "Glammy".  Recent recognition: National Restaurant Association Most Admired Executive, 2022; Social Justice Award, 2019.  Others you're espeically proud of? Columbus Spirit award by the Columbus Foundation, 2016; CEO of the year, 2014; YWCA Woman of Achievement, 2014; Top 24 women in Franchising.  Recent professional development: Becoming a majority owned woman business in 2022.  Latest accomplishment: Raising a $6 million endowment for the Reeb Ave. Center, which I co-founded with the aim of lifting a community out of poverty through workforce development and education.  Latest contribution to others: Started the Donatos Family Foundation, focused on loving our neighbors by addressing housing, hunger and health. What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? Buying the company back from McDonalds in 2003.  

Personality profile: A person of faith who puts family first and loves pizza. What one word would your closest friend use  to describe you? Passionate.  Moral compass: The Golden Rule. Hobbies: Grandkids and yoga.  Recent travel or adventure: A Mediterranean cruise for my husband's birthday, right before the pandemic.  Last book read: Caste, by Isabel Wikerson. Recently viewed and recommended: Ted Lasso.  Recent unique acquisition: Growth through ghost kitchens and automation.

How do you define a perfect friendship? When there are no expectations other than just being yourself.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? One based on trust and authenticity.  What is your greatest joy? My children and my grandchildren rooted in faith. What is your greatest fear? I don’t have any fears.  What is your guilty pleasure? Anything chocolate or salty at the end of a hard and stressful day.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Teachers and nurses (they should make more money).

What three emojis best describe you? 🧡🍕🧘.

What is at the top of your bucket list? Travel everywhere I've never been!  How do you relieve stress? Yoga.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? The ocean, a book, my family, kids and grandkids.  What is your go-to workout? Hot Yoga Sculpt.

What book have you repeatedly read? The Four Agreements, by Michael Ruiz.  The Bible.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Elf.  What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? My family and my kids Mission Statement.  Who has had the greatest influence on your life? Christ, my dad and my family.  What is the best advice you received growing  up? Love your way through it.  What is the best advice you received in your career? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Text messages. What is your favorite app? Donatos Pizza.  What is your go-to source of news and information? New York Times.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Brene Brown.  What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? 9/11.

What is your big idea?

That we can change the idea of what a living wage is versus a minor wage.  I believe in paying my adult associates a living wage ($22.50), but when there is a minimum wage, I end up having to pay my 14 year old the same as I have to pay a single mother trying to make ends meet.  

What change are you working on to effect in  your profession or field? I am working to make this a policy change on the wage war and affordable housing.  We have raised $1.6 MM to build an affordable housing complex that subsidizes rent if the tenants are using the services at Reeb Ave. Center.  What change would you like to see in the world? And end to racism and poverty.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Always love your way through the hard times and remember we all have a story that no one knows.  What widely held belief do you reject? That bravery is having the courage to face your fears.  It's really having the ability to listen to your internal self and know what is true to you.  What mega-trend most excites you? Innovation and automation.  What mega-trend most concerns you? Innovation and automation.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? The Pizza Queen.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Kristen Bell.  Who would you like to spend an evening with,  in heaven? Jesus.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A pizza maker.  What object would you first save from your burning home?  Pictures of my family.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? With my family.  What advice would you give your younger self? Keep stepping into the uncomfortable with faith.  What day in your life would you like to re-live? The birth of my three children.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? Absolutely nothing. I believe the experiences I have had created who I am today.  From being the first ever female altar girl, to divorce, to becoming a majority female family owned business.  Every mistake led to a reinvention of myself.

Personal mission: To be a servant leader dedicated to removing barriers to create sustainable change for our neighbors who live in poverty. Personal motto: Love my way through it.  Favorite quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).  Desired epitaph: Her dash made a difference.

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