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How did one family turn a small pizzeria into a mega-brand many know today?

Donatos Pizza was founded in 1963 by 19-year old Columbus, Ohio native Jim Grote. Jim’s daughter, Jane Grote Abell, grew up in the family business and today is Chairwoman of the Board.

Join us March 9 for an educational social event, showcasing Jane’s inspiring keynote about how a small pizza shop transformed into a company that sold to restaurant giant McDonald’s – before buying it back to reclaim their treasured culture.

Jane will unpack four decades of experience at Donatos, including insider stories from under the golden arches and her experiences filming on CBS’s hit series Undercover Boss.

  • Hear about Donatos’ sale to McDonald’s, and learn Jane’s signature “4C’s of Success” that she learned there
  • Get a taste of Donatos’ culture. Hear how executives have learned to work with Millennials, and why they continue to hire associates starting at age 14
  • Learn about creating a culture of giving and why “Being A Good Neighbor” is so important to the Donatos business model

This event is hosted at Rhinegeist Brewery in Over-the-Rhine, with spirits provided by Rhinegeist and food provided by Donatos. Hear how Donatos handles their business, to get ideas for handling yours – register today.

Meet Our Speaker

Jane Grote Abell, CEO, Donatos

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 the Boys and Girls Club, the South Side Learning and Development Center and job training services.

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.


If You Go

When: March 9, 2017, 4:00 – 6:00

What: Keynote address in a casual and social environment. Appetizers and refreshments following, valet parking available.

Attire: Casual

Location:  Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Who should come: Goering Center Core Members, Associate Members, Corporate Partners and anyone interested in the subject matter. Open to the public.

*Cost: Members: $59; Non-Members: $119; (*After March 2, 2017 Price is $69 for members and $129 for non-members)

Thank you to our Corporate Partner Sponsors: Graydon, KeyBank and Mellott & Mellott