Women Who Achieve: Yvette Donado

Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili

I have never had such terrific relationships with bankers as I do with our PNC team. They take care of our nest egg, invest wisely and help us make the best use of our resources.

 

‘Queen of Bean’ Fires Up Manolo’s Chili

Yvette Donado isn’t wired to sit back and wait for things to happen. In her first career position, with a small tech company providing data-processing services to market-research and ad agencies, she encouraged the firm’s leader to start a human resources division once the company reached 100 employees. “He laughed,” she says, “but off I went to NYU [New York University] at night. I came back with the certifications I needed to lead that department and drafted a memo for his signature to get the ball rolling.”

Yvette quickly ascended to senior vice president, learning along the way about acquisitions, the ramping up and down of subsidiaries, and balancing the interests of the corporation and its employees. She applied this knowledge and experience to her next position, vice president of Human Resources with a large nonprofit in Princeton, New Jersey. “Succeeding here was both personally and professionally fulfilling,” she says, “because the nonprofit’s mission, improving the accessibility and quality of education for the poor and underserved, was a burning platform for me.”

Charged with boosting this organization’s financial status, Yvette expanded her purview to include marketing and communications, corporate social responsibility, real estate and property management, and learning and development. As the organization’s first chief administrative officer, as well as chief inclusion and diversity officer, she established the Office of Quality and developed policies and programs to foster a diverse, inclusive culture aimed at strengthening the next generation of leadership. She became a sought-after speaker and coach.

The Call of Entrepreneurship

Yet for all of her C-level success, something tugged at Yvette: She missed the excitement of being part of a startup. So when her husband, Mitch Wolinsky, asked her to join him in leading his new business, Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili, she went all-in as co-owner and self-proclaimed “Queen of Bean.”

“As part of my employer’s annual campaign to raise money for local charities, I had invited Mitch to make his delectable vegan chili so we might sell it to staff and donate the proceeds,” Yvette explains. “It sold out quickly, and I continued to get requests for it long after our fundraiser had ended. I challenged Mitch to follow his passion, monetizing this product by making it commercially available. When he asked me to join him, I couldn’t resist.”

The chili earned a spot in The Hatchery, a Whole Foods Market (WFM) program enabling small businesses to sell their locally crafted foods; its successful introduction there inspired the inclusion of Mitch’s chili and roasted sweet potato soup in the Whole Foods soup bar. Now Manolo’s is available in 57 Whole Foods Market stores in seven mid-Atlantic states and continues to grow with support from advocates including PNC.

“I have never had such terrific relationships with bankers as I do with our PNC team. They take care of our nest egg, invest wisely and help us make the best use of our resources,” Yvette says. “I also appreciate their care for the arts and community. PNC knows that doing well and doing good go hand in hand.”

 

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Yvette Donado,
Co-Owner


Business Details

Company:
Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili

Location:
Princeton, NJ

Website:
manolosbestchili.com


Remain curious, humble and steadfast. Your worth is not defined by any external person or entity. Live up to your own ideals and declare yourself a success!

Yvette Donado


Business Awards

  • 2017 Leadership Award, National Diversity Council
  • 2016 VIP Women of the Year, National Association of Female Executives
  • 2016 Brava Award, Smart CEO
  • 2014 Latina Trailblazers Award, LatinoJustice PRLDEF
  • 2014 Women of Achievement, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • 2013 Corporate Partnership Award, 100 Hispanic Women National
  • 2013 Corporate Partnership Award, Parents Step Ahead
  • 2013 Top Five Latina Executives, LATINA Style Magazine
  • 2012 50 Most Influential Hispanics, Hispanic Business Magazine               

Community Involvement

  • Board member, United Way of Mercer County, 2004 - Present
  • Board member, Junior Achievement of New Jersey, 2008 - Present
  • Board member, Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement, 2010 - Present
  • Member, National Association of Professional Women, 2014 - Present
  • Board member, The Lonely Entrepreneur, 2019 - Present