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Donna Fujimoto Cole

Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award


Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Ballroom at Bayou Place

Donna Fujimoto Cole is president and CEO of Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc., which provides chemical sales and chemical supply chain management solutions to many different industries, including customers such as BP America, Colgate, Exxon Mobil, and Toyota. When she began the company in 1980, Donna was a divorced single mother. Managing an enterprise while bringing up a child on her own wasn’t easy, but Donna, with the help of her supportive parents and friends, persevered. Today, the company boasts revenues in excess of $15 million.

Donna learned early in her career that as a woman in business it was imperative she learn everything, do more, and be better than others at responding to queries, making deliveries on time, keeping people informed, and finding product when it was in short supply.

Not only is Donna a respected businesswoman and devoted mother, she also shares her expertise on business-related and educational boards and gives of her time to charitable boards. She currently serves on the boards of U.S.- Japan Council, the Center for Asian Pacific American Women, The National Veterans Network, and the Rockwell Fund and the advisory boards of  The Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University and The Women’s Home. Donna is also president of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Houston Association.

As one who believes in giving back, Donna devotes much of her time to helping her community. Some of the community projects she has been part of include Building a Pipeline for the Sciences, the All Earth Ecobot Challenge, Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, and Building a Leadership Pipeline for Asian Women.

She is also the cofounder of Pantheon of Women, a production company that funds films and documentaries that need to be seen in order to foster positive change. One such film is I Dream Too Much, which has garnered international recognition. The company’s mission is to employ the stories of strong women in television and film to combat negative perceptions and stereotypes of women. It also sets out to change the way men treat women and provide role models that will empower women and girls to create positive change. The goal is to mentor millions through its movies as well as to entertain, engage, and empower women and girls to improve conditions for themselves, their families, and their communities—even the world.

Due to her positive actions in the community, Donna has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. In 2009, she was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GHWCC) Hall of Fame. During the same year, she was recognized as a Junior Achievement Laureate, and she was named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine. In 2013, Cole Chemical & Distributing Inc. was included as one of the Top 10 Minority-Owned Businesses in Houston by the Houston Business Journal. During the same year, Donna was included in the Who’s Who of Asian Americans. She has also received recognition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan for the work she has done bridging relations between the United States and Japan. In 2017, the Houston Business Journal presented Donna with the first Women in Energy Legacy Award.

Donna has found that scheduling is imperative to maintaining her busy lifestyle. Even with business, family, and philanthropy as the most important elements, Donna takes time out for extracurriculars such as reading and watching films. Her passions include business, education, health care, and growing good leaders to raise everyone’s quality of life.

Along with her own determination and the help of loved ones, Donna also credits mentors for contributing to her success. They encouraged her to start her own business from the beginning and provided encouragement along the way.

When asked for her definition of a good role model, Donna had this to say: “A role model is someone who is consistently held in high regard for being ethical, caring, and compassionate.” These are all traits Donna Fujimoto Cole exhibits in her career, with her family, and as a community-minded individual every day.

It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Donna Fujimoto Cole has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2019. 

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