Woman Overcomes Addiction, Prison-Time To Become Star Employee At Donatos

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Rochelle Seel admits that she was addicted to crack cocaine and marijuana. She says all she thought about, day in and day out, was the drug. She showed us the home where she did and sold drugs.

Since that time, Rochelle has gotten her house in order. In fact, she says the refurbished home she now rents out is a symbol of her turnaround which began when she was in prison.

Her friends behind bars made her a book of memories to mark her 2009 release. It now serves as a reminder.

“It makes me remember where I am at and where I don’t want to be,” says Rochelle.

A prison supervisor took notice of Rochelle.

“She said ‘If you get out of here with the work ethic you have, I don't see a problem. I don't see you back.’ And I'll never forget that,” says Rochelle.

She needed that vote of confidence because when she applied for jobs nobody called back immediately. But Donatos took a chance on the ex-con.

Rochelle made the most of her job with the pizza company, coming in early and staying late. She worked well with customers and worked her way up the corporate ladder.

Now, she's the general manager of Donatos’ busiest location – the branch on Grant Street.

“I'm proud of the woman she is. The things she overcame,” says Donatos chairman Jane Grote Abell.

Rochelle pays it forward by giving other people the chance she got.

“It's beyond a mission statement of a company. She's breathing it, living it every day, in her store with her people,” says Abell.

It’s people like Beth Morrison, a former addict who needed work.

“When I walked in, I saw Rochelle, and I was previously incarcerated with her,” says Beth.

“It was one of the best hires I've ever done. She’s great,” said Rochelle.

“It meant the world to me because it started me on the journey I'm on now,” added Beth.

Rochelle knows what it is to want to be a better person. In her own drug days, her parents let her live in the house next door which is the one she has now made over.

It was in part to keep their wayward daughter close. Although her parents are now gone, she lives to do right by them.

“I really wanted them to know and look down and see that I'm succeeding and want them to be proud.”

Rochelle’s message to the masses: Just because you have a past, doesn’t mean you can’t have a future!

The chain is having a job fair June 4th for management trainees.  It’s from 9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM at 1157 Claycraft Road at the Donatos Pizza Operation Office.