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Donna Fujimoto Cole interview

 

Donna Fujimoto Cole was born in Colorado in 1952. She moved to Texas during her early childhood, and grew up in the towns of McAllen and Mission, Texas. She had two older brothers, one of whom decided to move to Houston. Attracted to the opportunities to interact with more people, and feeling increasingly crowded in her family’s house, Donna decided to follow him there. While in Houston, she attended a technical school that trained her in computer programming. Also while in Houston, she married John Cole and had a daughter, Tammy. The couple divorced after four years. After completing her studies at the technical school, she briefly held a job with J.K. Lasser, a large accounting firm. However the work did not inspire her, so she soon left. She found a more rewarding occupation when she pursued a job opening at the very successful chemical company, Gold King Chemicals. After a unique job interview, she found her niche selling product to clients and studying up on the chemical industry. In the late 70s, Mrs. Cole served as the Vice President of Sales. She and the other executives at Gold King decided to pursue a packaging warehouse enterprise, partnering with a Japanese company. However, the partner company left her name off of the stock distribution page of the agreement, because she was ‘not only a woman, but a Japanese woman.’ After several clients encouraged Mrs. Cole to start her own packaging warehouse, she decided to strike out on her own and do just that. She opened the doors of Cole Chemical on February 1st, 1980. Cole Chemical is now a very successful company, and Mrs. Cole is a top businessperson in her field. She is still the sole owner of the company that she founded at 26 years old. Today Mrs. Cole is active in outreach to the Houston and Asian American communities, a trait that her mother instilled in her while she was growing up in the Rio Grande Valley. She recently won the Joseph Jaworski Leadership Award for Distinguished Public Service, a testament to her generosity and altruism.