As a founding family member, Jane Grote Abell joined Donatos Pizza Inc. in 1978, and currently holds the title of Chairwoman of the Board.
Jane has also held a variety of positions in Donatos Food Service commissary operations (Jane’s Dough Foods) and Donatos Pizza restaurant operations from 1978 until 1988. In 1988 with a degree from Ohio State University in Organizational Communications, and a strong passion for people, she was promoted to the 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 Development, Franchise Development and maintained the role as Chief People Officer. In these leadership positions, she helped steer the Company’s business strategy. Most notably, in 2003, Jane was a major catalyst behind the decision to buy back the Company from McDonald’s. In December of 2006, Jane was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer.
In November 2014, Jane was named CEO Of The Year by Columbus CEO Magazine. She was also named to the 2014 YWCA Columbus Academy of Women of Achievement, one of only 237 women so honored since 1986. In March 2014, Jane was named as one of the Top 24 Women in Franchising by Franchise Update Magazine. Jane is the 2013 winner of the Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award recognizing exemplary community service. She was also recognized as a Woman of Influence in the Food Industry 2013 by the Griffin Report of Food Marketing. Jane is a past recipient of the McDonald’s Corporation 21st Century Service Team Award, the Pace Setter Executive Award given by The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, and the “Forty Under 40 Award” sponsored by Columbus Business First.
Jane is a founding member of the Ross Leadership Institute. She serves on the Board of Action for Children, Goodwill Columbus, Inc., and Experience Columbus She is a member of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women, Young Presidents Organization, the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Central Ohio, and the Otterbein University Women's Leadership Network Advisory Council.
And though Jane is heavily focused on the chain’s mission of promoting goodwill through product and service, principles and people throughout her organization, she’s also deeply committed to the work outside the business as well. Because her roots trace back to that first store on Thurman Avenue on Columbus’ south side, she and her family remain committed to the area’s success. Most recent 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 on the city's south side. She has been a catalyst for this project from its inception in 2012.
In October of 2013, Jane was featured in CBS’s hit series Undercover Boss where she donned a disguise and went undercover in Donatos restaurants. She was also featured in a special Undercover Boss: Busted episode in November 2013 along with 6 other Undercover CEO’s.
Jane resides in Columbus with her two daughters Brianna (age 17) and Tori (age 14). Her son, Tony, owns and operates several Snap Fitness locations.