Chamber annual luncheon set for this Wednesday

Jane Grote Abell

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon will be held this Wednesday with Jane Grote Abell, founding family member of Donatos Pizza, serving as the keynote speaker.

The focus of this year’s luncheon, which will be held at the Mahan Building beginning at 11:30 a.m., is women in business.

Founding family member of Donatos Pizza, Abell currently holds the title of chairwoman of the board and over the past four decades, she has held a variety of positions at both Donatos Pizza and Janes Dough Foods, Donatos’ food service commissary operations.

Abell graduated from The Ohio State University in organizational communications in 1988 and because of her strong passion for people, she was promoted to chief people officer and served in that capacity during Donatos’ acquisition by McDonald’s in 1999.

During the four years with McDonald’s, Abell maintained her role as chief people officer, and was promoted to senior vice president of development. Abell played a major role in 2003 when Donatos was purchased back from McDonald’s. Abell was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 2006.

She is heavily focused on the chain’s mission of promoting goodwill through product, service, principles, and people, but since taking over as chairwoman of the board in 2010, she has been able to focus on work outside of Donatos.

Abell’s roots trace back to the first store on Thurman Avenue on Columbus’ south side, and she and her family remain committed to the area. The Grote family contributed $1.5 million to help a city plan to revive the South Parsons Corridor. Abell has been an advocate of the project since its inception in 2012, founded the Reeb Avenue Center — a social services center housing Boys and Girls Club, the South Side Learning and Development Center, and job training services.

Abell has received a number of awards and recognitions — most recently, in 2014, she was named to the YWCA Columbus Academy of Women of Achievement, one of only 237 women honored since 1986. Columbus CEO Magazine named Abell CEO of the Year, and Franchise Update Magazine listed her as one of the Top 24 Women in Franchising.

She appeared on CBS’s hit series, “Undercover Boss,” where she donned a disguise and went undercover in Donatos restaurants.

Also at the luncheon on Wednesday, the Record-Herald will recognize its “Citizen of the Year,” which is an annual award. The chamber will be recognizing several chamber business members who are women.

Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at the Chamber office, 101 E. East St. in Washington C.H.